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Tony Grist

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Day Trip To Liverpool [Oct. 4th, 2008|12:00 pm]
Tony Grist
There was a little gap in the rain, rain, rain and we picked it out and went to Liverpool. Ruth came with us. I'm a Mancunian- and Manchester and Liverpool are like rival Italian Renaissance city states- so we don't go there often, but really we should. Liverpool is stunning. At least the waterfront is. We went to the Albert Dock- which in autumnal sunshine is like something out of a painting by Caneletto- and popped in and out of shops and a Tate exhibition entitled The Twentieth Century: how it looked and how it felt. Tate London has recognised Liverpool's year as European City of Culture by lending its regional branch a number of world-class works, including Degas' Little Dancer and Picasso's Weeping Woman- along with things more properly described as interesting by minor artists like Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant. The nearer we get to modern times the bleaker it gets. I love Sarah Lucas's brutal, anti-erotic assemblage of light bulbs and old tat-  while Mona Hatoum's sleekly perverted everyday objects- the divan bed in steel, the wheelchair with knives for handles and the baby's cot with cheese-wire in place of a mattress- are crueler than anything the classic old-time surrealists ever came up with. Outside the weather stayed gusty and fine. We had a nice lunch at a creperie, then drove north, stopping off briefly at the dock where the QEII is berthed, and on to Crosby to have another look at Anthony Gormley's wonderful metal men.








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Comments:
From: nostoi
2008-10-04 12:55 pm (UTC)
We live in cruel times. I know we always have but somehow the cruelness of today's world seems to surpass that of the past. It probably doesn't, and it's only the fact that we are living these times which makes them seem worse. That and our fond rose-tinted nostalgia. With our cheese wire and knives perhaps we are only more honest about it; I doubt the Victorians would welcome sculptures of garrotted slaves and the like.

Sorry, today you've tapped into my feeling of general despair for the world.

On a more positive note, I love Ailz's hat. I have a large head and hats are a generally elusive creature, but that looks like a decent size. Do you know where she got it?
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-10-04 01:04 pm (UTC)
Hatoum is a Palestinian. I don't think it's any surprise her work is cruel and despairing.

It was noticeable- very noticeable- how bleak the work of the 1980s and 90s is compared to that from the early decades of the century. The earliest gallery had pictures of people taking baths and the final gallery had Hatoum's sculptures and Lucas' installation and a collection of photgraphs of car bombings.

Ailz got her hat at an antique textiles fair. I'm not sure if it's an antique, but it could be. It's very 60s. Just right for wearing round the Beatles' city.
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[User Picture]From: pondhopper
2008-10-04 01:49 pm (UTC)
I have trouble dealing with modern art quite often. There is so much violence of thought and discomfort. Like the world, I suppose, but I don't like being reminded perhaps.

They have Picasso's Weeping Woman on loan? Wonderful!
We haven't been to Liverpool and it sounds like we should.

The colour of those pillars is a joy to see. Why don't they paint more buildings with real colour these days? And the last photo? Perfect.

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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-10-04 03:15 pm (UTC)
Liverpool reminds me of Barcelona. I don't think it suffers by the comparison. It has more "listed" buildings than any British city, apart from London.

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[User Picture]From: saare_snowqueen
2008-10-04 02:11 pm (UTC)
The Liverpool photos are quite wonderful. Set against the despair of the 80's and 90's , the revitalization of historic old cities fills me with hope. I'm not sure our times - parts of it at least are any less brutal than others. Perhaps it's only now that we've started turning our brutality into 'art' that it seems so. On Crete the Nazi's documented their treatment of the local people. There is an exhibition of some in the Occupation Museum in Hereaklion. The dead pan matter-of-factness of them is horrifying.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-10-04 03:25 pm (UTC)
Liverpool is making huge efforts to reinvent itself.

I reckon the first major artist to make human brutality his subject was Goya.

God only knows what the nazis thought they were up to documenting their atrocities.
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[User Picture]From: saare_snowqueen
2008-10-04 05:29 pm (UTC)
and then there was Picasso and Guernica.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-10-04 06:16 pm (UTC)
I adore Picasso.
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[User Picture]From: saare_snowqueen
2008-10-04 05:31 pm (UTC)
They expected to win
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[User Picture]From: qatsi
2008-10-04 04:09 pm (UTC)
I think the photo of Ruth and Ailz is lovely. "It's bright and sunny, but it's a bit breezy and not quite bright and sunny enough ... but we are by the sea and determined to enjoy ourselves." At least, that's what it says to me.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-10-04 04:17 pm (UTC)
And that was pretty much how it was.

There was an ice cream kiosk on the promenade and, though we promised ourselves ice-cream in advance, we changed our minds once we were there.
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[User Picture]From: sovay
2008-10-04 05:38 pm (UTC)
Those first two photographs are particularly wonderful. I love the pillars and the rigging.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-10-04 06:18 pm (UTC)
Thanks.

The rigging belongs to a cargo ship called the Zebu- the last of its kind to be berthed at Liverpool.
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[User Picture]From: silverhawkdruid
2008-10-04 10:19 pm (UTC)
Great pics! :-) I went to Liverpool for a weekend conference once, and got to wander round the docks and eyeball the Liver Birds and stuff before settling in on the Friday. I was very taken with the area.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-10-05 12:01 pm (UTC)
Thanks.

Liverpool is an exciting city. Always has been I think. It's to do with the wind coming off the Irish sea- and all the multicultural comings and goings.
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From: saskia139
2008-10-04 11:26 pm (UTC)
I call that Ailz's Best Outfit Ever. She looks smashing. :)
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-10-05 12:01 pm (UTC)
Cool, eh? I tell her the cap makes her look like Ringo.
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From: saskia139
2008-10-05 03:13 pm (UTC)
Dare I say the whole ensemble is very butch? In the best possible way.
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