A buzzing cloud of international artists, designers, composers and creators is descending on
There won't be an empty seat or a dry eye in the cavernous space of Liverpool cathedral, which in the days after the disaster threw open its doors to people who came to pray, light candles, or just sit in silence, bewildered and awed by the scale of the tragedy.
The music is also acutely personal to composer
The Dean, Dr
He said: "I was proud that our cathedral was able to provide a place of comfort and support on that difficult day, and I believe that our building will be an equally fitting venue for Michael's symphony."
Even with art that is less personal and poignant, the whole city gets engaged in the biennial, director
A native of
"There's no side here, this is a working-class city that cares. If they like something they let you know, and if they don't like something they certainly let you know. Everyone has an opinion. I am here and 100% accountable," she said.
Tallant came to the job just before the last biennial, so this is her first full festival. She received a spectacular vote of confidence earlier this week when, in contrast with the cuts or standstill funding announced by the
The Nyman symphony is one of hundreds of exhibitions, concerts, dance, films, and pop-up events which will happen all across the city, in galleries, museums and concert halls but also abandoned industrial spaces, pubs and street corners.
There is even a private apartment where members of the public will be invited to sit down and watch the telly, showing films by the Belgian artist and film maker
The decorative paint scheme in the grand dining room of his American mansion had got a little scuffed, and just needed touching up here and there. Instead, Whistler shut himself into the room for months and covered the walls in a spectacular confection which the artist called Harmony in Blue and Gold:
Part of the panelling survives in the Smithsonian, but the mansion is long gone. "We thought of trying to borrow the panels – and then we thought 'why not just remake the room'," she explained.
One of the largest exhibitions is in the vast decaying spaces of a building that was originally a school for the blind, later a bank, and later still the trade union headquarters at a time when the city's strikes became the stuff of labour history: the "aye, cunt" graffito on a door presumably dates from a particularly acrimonious meeting.
The building has been empty and rotting for years, but now provides a spectacularly moody backdrop for a huge exhibition of contemporary art, where A level art student
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