Canvas Cities : Liverpool, Stoke and Gerhard Richter

There is a proliferation of billboards across North Liverpool. These signs implore us to be and buy better. They also ask us to eat more KFC and Maccie D’s. In many places they are left unused and become something altogether different. These new hoardings are like large abstract artworks that shift and change with the weather.

Gerhard Richter in Waterloo or a Franz Kline on Stanley Road.

What [Edmund] Burke* enquired, produced that sense of overwhelming was that characterized “sublime” emotion in the face of Nature and Art alike? Unity, vast size, boundlessness, emptiness, and darkness; in the presence of these,” the mind is so entirely filled with its object that it cannot contain any other,” and the work of art becomes self-sufficient. Rothko believed in the possibility of such painting but often doubted that he had realized it.

American Visions Harvill Robert Hughes 1997

Robert Hughes American Visions Harvill 1997

*A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime, Edmund Burke 1757

Robert Hughes is one of my favourite writers when it comes to Modern Art. Hughes described Jeff Koons as an Artist ‘so transparently on the make’ and Andy Warhol as ‘one of the most stupid people, I’ve ever met’  

The last photo was taken in Stoke. There are lots of similarities between Liverpool and Stoke. Both have a strong sense of their own identity despite living through real economic hardship. It’s always telling to see prime billboard advertising space, unused and forgotten. There’s nothing to buy or sell. Oat Cake Shops and these billboards. They wouldn’t look out of place in MOMA New York or at the Tate Modern in London.