National Museums Liverpool 2020 events revealed – what’s on and listings guide


Co(AI)xistence (Credit:Justine Emard / Adagp, Paris 2018) AI More than Human

National Museums Liverpool have announced twelve months of outstanding exhibitions and new permanent displays for 2020, Getintothis’ Rick Leach has the full list.

National Museums Liverpool are set to enter 2020 with a wide-ranging and exciting year of exhibitions and new permanent displays.

Right across the board, from the Lady Lever Art Gallery, the World Museum, The Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool Maritime Museum, to the.Museum of Liverpool, National Museums Liverpool are entering the second decade of the Millenium with both a look to the past and a keen eye on the future.

There’s contemporary British painting, a look at Liverpool’s maritime history over the past three centuries, previously unseen photographs by Linda McCartney, expressionist German artworks and much more on offer.

Laura Pye, Director of National Museums Liverpool said: “From the photography of Linda McCartney, both iconic and intimate, to a glimpse into the fascinating potential AI has to shape our future; 2020 promises to be an amazing year for National Museums Liverpool, which we hope will challenge, inspire and delight our visitors.

And this year it’s not just about exhibitions. This spring we are also opening Life on board, a major new gallery at the Merseyside Maritime Museum, which explores more than three centuries of our city’s seafaring history.

While at World Museum we’re looking forward to a series of interventions that brings fresh perspectives to the World Cultures gallery and addresses current debates.

With so much fantastic stuff in the pipeline this is your chance to get dates in the diary and start planning a brilliant 12 months of culture in Liverpool.”

 Getintothis’ Arts Diary: our monthly round up of the best and most exciting culture on offer

Liverpool on wheels


Liverpool on wheels: from horses to horsepower
Museum of Liverpool
February 14 to November 1 2020

Liverpool’s proud transport history is revealed through a fabulous array of vehicles built in and around Liverpool.

From bicycles to horse-drawn carriages, the exhibition features some of the larger objects in National Museums Liverpool’s collection. Exploring the city’s remarkable history of transport innovation and manufacturing, which still continues today, it is a unique view of Liverpool’s social history.

German Revolution at Lady Lever Art Gallery (Credit:The Hunterian, University of Glasgow)

German Revolution: Expressionist prints
Lady Lever Art Gallery
April 10 to August 31 2020

Powerful prints by some of the most influential artists of the 20th century will arrive at the Lady Lever Art Gallery next year.  Including work by Munch, Schiele and Kokoschka, the exhibition explores how the social, political, sexual and moral struggles taking place during the turbulent period of the German Revolution (1918-1919) moved artists to produce such dramatic imagery.

The exhibition also features important prints by Gauguin and Picasso that demonstrate how artists outside Germany contributed to the evolution of Expressionism.

The exhibition is drawn from the collection of The Hunterian, University of Glasgow.

Linda McCartney (Copyright:Paul McCartney/ Photographer Linda McCartney)

Linda McCartney Retrospective
Walker Art Gallery
April 25 to August 31 2020

In 2020, the Walker Art Gallery will host a major retrospective of Linda McCartney’s photography. From her iconic depictions of the 1960s music scene to family life with Paul, Linda captured her whole world on film.

The exhibition features more than 200 extraordinary images that reveal what a prolific photographer Linda McCartney was, and how her love for the natural world, her surreal sense of humour, and an exceptional eye for capturing the spontaneous, gave her work an inimitable style.

The exhibition will include a selection of images taken in Liverpool and on the Wirral which have never been on public display.

  • Tickets will go on general sale on October 17.

Co(AI)xistence (Credit:Justine Emard / Adagp, Paris 2018) AI More than Human

AI: More than Human
World Museum
July 10 to November 1 2020

The fascinating world of artificial intelligence comes to World Museum in a new exhibition bursting with interactivity through immersive artworks and scientific developments, giving visitors a thrilling vision of the future.

Explored through prominent and cutting-edge research, and special commissions and projects by international artists, AI: More than Human is an unprecedented survey of the relationship between humans and technology.

The exhibition tells the rapidly developing story of AI, from its extraordinary ancient roots in Japanese Shintoism, to Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage’s early experiments in computing, through to the major developmental leaps from the 1940s to the present day.

  • Tickets will go on general sale on October 17.

What a picture! Getintothis’ best music photographs of the month

John Moores Painting Prize

John Moores Painting Prize 2020
Walker Art Gallery
September 11 2020 to February 14 2021

The John Moores Painting Prize returns with the very best of contemporary British painting. Respected by artists and renowned for spotting emerging talent, the competition attracts a hugely diverse range of work which may divide opinion but always reaffirms the power of paint to move and provoke.

Sir Peter Blake said: “The John Moores is one of the most prestigious art competitions in the UK and winning the Junior Prize in 1961 is one of the achievements of which I am most proud.”

The winner of the 2020 Prize picks up £25,000 and joins stellar alumni of previous winners, including David Hockney, Mary Martin, Peter Doig and Rose Wylie.

The announcement of the jury will be made in the coming months.

The Beatles: why the biggest band in the world had to come from Liverpool

Fan tile panel (detail) 1872 – 1904, William De Morgan © De Morgan Foundation

Sublime Symmetry: De Morgan ceramics
Lady Lever Art Gallery
September 25 2020 to January 17 2021

The magnificent ceramics of William De Morgan (1839 – 1917) are the focus of this glorious new exhibition which uncovers the pattern, shape and symmetry in De Morgan’s designs.

The exhibition explores De Morgan’s rigorous working method and reveals underneath the fantastical beasts and fanciful flora, carefully planned mathematical structure and adherence to precise geometric rules.

This is a touring show from the De Morgan Foundation.

Permanent displays:

Life on board

Life on board
Merseyside Maritime Museum
Opens March 28 2020

Merseyside Maritime Museum will open a stunning new gallery in Spring 2020.

Exploring the moving and fascinating stories of Liverpool’s seafarers and passengers, the Life on board gallery highlights the stories of the merchant sailors who drove the city’s prosperity, as well as tales of the people who sailed aboard leisure liners.

The gallery will uncover the dangers, joys, cultures and community at the heart of seafaring, from the 1700s to the present day and allows visitors to find out more about ship passengers and crews, and the lives they led on board.

The new gallery will also include the fascinating Archive Centre, featuring National Museums Liverpool’s vast collection of maritime and slavery records.

World Cultures Gallery

World Cultures Gallery
World Museum
Various dates

The World Cultures gallery showcases National Museums Liverpool’s huge collections from Africa, The Americas, Asia and Oceania. Featuring more than 1,600 objects, the gallery explores the exchange of ideas and objects between Europe and the many cultures represented in the displays.

Working with a number of creative people, World Museum is devising a series of interventions that will help connect the collections of its World Cultures gallery to current debates around issues such as race and empire, and the significance of looted objects in museums.

The curators have worked with comedian Daliso Chaponda, poet Sarah Howe and artist Leo Asemota to create fresh interpretation that is intended to provoke discussions in the public spaces around the gallery, and online, and to help identify a new direction for the gallery.

Editor’s comment:

We too often take culture for granted.

It’s so readily available that we assume it’s always going to be there.

But living in Liverpool, there’s so much of it on our doorsteps, available every 365 days of the year, year-in, year-out, that we should consider ourselves blessed with the myriad of choices on offer.

And a lot of work goes into making it fresh, exciting, original and innovative. No more so than with National Museums Liverpool 2020 programme.

We can start off 2020 with a fresh pair of eyes and dive into the treasures on offer. There’s something new happening every month.

The Linda McCartney exhibition is sure to be a big draw, not only in Liverpool but right across the UK. The opportunity to see new personal photographs of family life with Paul McCartney as well as her images of the music scene from the 1960’s is one to mark off in your calendars.

We can look outwards to the constant presence of the sea and realise Liverpool is a city not looking inwards but ever outwards to the wider world in the Life on board exhibition

Artificial intelligence is a buzz word as ever, but maybe it takes something like the AI:More than Human to give a deeper historical context and lead us to think beneath current catchphrases.

This is what it’s all about.

The value of culture allows us to step back, gain a few moments of peace within the chaos of the world and think.

We should treasure it and applaud National Museums Liverpool for giving us such an embarrassment of riches for 2020.

Roll on New Year’s Day.

Rick Leach
Arts Editor  






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