From underground explorations at Toxteth Reservoir to the return of the Royal de Luxe giants, there’s art aplenty over the next few months

SEAN SCULLY | Walker art gallery | until 14 October

Sean Scully’s paintings are rooted in 1960s abstraction, although his trademark checkerboard stripes also owe something to the layout of fields in his native Ireland. This exhibition is dedicated to the work Scully produced around the turn of the 1970s, and is the first time many of these paintings have been seen together since his Newcastle University degree show in 1971. Walker Art Gallery, William Brown Street, L13 8EN (free entry; open daily 10am-5pm)

2018 08 24 Sean Scully
Sean Scully

POLITICS OF BEAUTY | Corke Gallery | 30 August - 28 September

Four artists from either end of the M62 come together to interpret beauty at the Corke Gallery in Aigburth. Josie Jenkins, John Elcock, Chrissy Collinson and Paul Collinson are all painters with their own take on the meaning of beauty, from the aesthetic delicacy found in decay to the glimmer and gleam of today’s consumer society. Corke Gallery, 296-298 Aigburth Road, L17 9PW (free entry; open Thursday-Saturday 10am-2pm)

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Politics of Beauty

SERENA KORDA: THE BELL TREE | Speke Hall | 8 September - 28 July 2019

The hidden history of Speke Hall has inspired this new outdoor installation by Serena Korda, which can be explored throughout the hall’s woodlands and grounds. In a collaboration between the Bluecoat and Trust New Art, the National Trust’s contemporary art programme, Korda’s The Bell Tree combines ceramic objects with mysterious audio celebrating ‘the spirit of this ancient site and the power of myth’. Expect ringing bluebells, melodic madrigals - and possibly the occasional audio interruption courtesy of the adjacent airport. Speke Hall, The Walk, Speke, L24 1XD (Speke Hall is a National Trust property, entry charges apply; installation open daily 10.30am-4pm)

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Speke Hall

AURORA | Toxteth Reservoir | 21 September - 7 October

Think of reservoirs and you tend to conjure up images of vast lakes nestling in verdant valleys, but the Grade II-listed Toxteth Reservoir is a far darker brick-built proposition. The reservoir was built in 1845 to preserve fresh water for a growing urban population, and now the innovative Invisible Flock have been commissioned to create an immersive, interactive experience within its cavernous walls and cloisters. Featuring soundscapes, lasers and ice sculptures, Aurora promises to create a 40-minute ‘walk on water’, a powerful evocation of ‘our innate and spiritual connection’ with this life-giving fluid. Toxteth Reservoir, High Park Street, L8 8LU (multiple time slots available; tickets from £8 at

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Toxteth Reservoir

LEO FITZMAURICE | Walker Art Gallery | 29 September – 17 March 2019

Although the name of Liverpool-based artist Leo Fitzmaurice is on the door here, on this occasion he takes the role of curator and interpreter as he assembles portraits from the Arts Council and National Museums Liverpool collections, and gives viewers the opportunity to see them in a new light. Psamathe by Frederick, Lord Leighton - in which a nude female figure gazes out to sea - is the show’s key work, with Fitzmaurice aiming to expand on this ‘tone of inquisitiveness in the world beyond’. Walker Art Gallery, William Brown Street, L13 8EN (free entry; open Monday-Sunday 10am-5pm)

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LIVERPOOL’S DREAM | Liverpool and Wirral | 4-7 October

Although it’s always good to stay sceptical about grandiose council-backed extravaganzas, spectacular schemes like the return of the Royal de Luxe giants can only occur with citywide approval. And when those schemes bring tangible magic to the streets, maybe it’s time to give the cynicism a rest for a few days at least. So yes, they’re back, for the third and (apparently) final time. On two previous occasions these monumental marionettes have roamed through Liverpool with huge crowds coming out to see them. Specific plans for this visit remain under wraps, so if you want to know more, keep an eye out for the upcoming social media and broadcast blitz. This is a free, street-based event that will take place over three days throughout Liverpool and Wirral

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Liverpool’s Dream

QUENTIN BLAKE AND JOHN YEOMAN | Lady Lever Art Gallery | 19 October - 3 March 2019

Few illustrators have dominated the world of children’s books quite like Quentin Blake. Over a career spanning six decades, he has written and illustrated hundreds of titles, many of them all his own work, while others were created in collaboration with authors such as Roald Dahl, Michael Rosen and David Walliams. One of his most productive relationships has been with the author John Yeoman; this exhibition from London’s House of Illustration celebrates their outstanding creative partnership. Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight, CH62 5EQ (free entry; open daily 10am-5pm)

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A typical Quentin Blake illustration

VOICES OF 68 | Victoria Gallery and Museum | 17 November - 15 December

Discussions about the political ructions of 1968 often centre on the US, Eastern Europe and Paris. However, the civil rights movement that took hold in Northern Ireland had possibly the most far-reaching effect of all, with three decades of fierce conflict following in its wake. This exhibition from National Museums Northern Ireland looks at this crucial period, using filmed testimonies and augmented reality video footage to tell the story ‘in the words of some of those most directly involved at the time’. Victoria Gallery and Museum, 150 Brownlow Hill, L3 5RF (free entry; open Tuesday-Saturday 10am-5pm)

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Victoria Gallery and Museum

FERNAND LÉGER: NEW TIMES, NEW PLEASURES | Tate Liverpool | 23 November – 17 March 2019

This is the first major UK exhibition for 30 years dedicated to Fernand Léger; the French painter, sculptor and filmmaker. With over 50 works, including his collaborations with the architects Le Corbusier and Charlotte Perriand, the show is a rare chance to see paintings, murals, films and textiles ‘infused with the bustle and rhythm of modern life’. Heavily influenced by the most outward manifestations of the modern age, including typography and advertising, Léger’s bold lines and vibrant colours remain irresistible. Tate Liverpool, Royal Albert Dock, L3 4BB (open daily 10am-5.50pm; under 16s free, other tickets from £6 at

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Fernand Léger

MOON KYUNGWON AND JEON JOONHO: NEWS FROM NOWHERE | Tate Liverpool | 23 November - 17 March 2019

Sometimes, you just can’t beat the exhibition’s own blurb: ‘See Liverpool through the eyes of a man who has travelled through space and time to arrive in the city on the eve of the apocalypse’. In this first UK exhibition for Moon Kyungwon and Jeon Joonho, the South Korean artists use film to ‘question the role and importance of art to our present day society’. What this will mean in practice is anyone’s guess but, with footage shot in deserted alleyways and pubs across Liverpool, it’s likely to be well worth catching. 

Tate Liverpool, Royal Albert Dock, L3 4BB (free entry; open daily 10am-5.50pm)

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News from Nowhere

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