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Tate galleries' boost for city's culture bid; 'LIVERPOOL IS A FANTASTIC PLACE AND SO MUCH FRIENDLIER THAN LONDON'.

Byline: Emma Bird

LONDON'S Tate Galleries are backing Liverpool's bid to become Capital of Culture 2008.

Christoph Grunenberg, director of Tate Gallery Liverpool, will bring a series of high-profile exhibitions to the city to coincide with the four key stages in the bidding process.

These include sculptures by Mark Quinn, who gained notoriety in 1991 for making a refrigerated cast of his head using nine pints of blood.

Mr Grunenberg said support from its sister ventures in London and St Ives, Cornwall, would be invaluable during the competition, which closes next March.

But since he took up his new position seven months ago, he has held a series of top-level talks with the chief executive of the Liverpool Culture Company, Sir Bob Scott.

His first major exhibition is Paul McCarthy's show, which runs until mid-January.

National and international papers have already recommended people visit Liverpool to see the works by the American artist, which examine aspects of contemporary popular culture through repulsion and dark humour.

To coincide with the closing date for bids, Tate Gallery Liverpool will stage the Mark Quinn exhibition for three months from February.

While the Department of Culture, Media and Sport considers the bids from May and August, the gallery will house Remix: Contemporary Art and Pop Music.

Before the shortlist is announced in autumn 2002, Liverpool - whose slogan is 'The World in One City' - will host a 10-week celebration of the Liverpool Biennial, bringing together artists from around the world.

The final exhibition, Shopping, Art and Consumer Culture, will take place from December to March, ensuring the focus is on Liverpool in the run-up to the winner being named in spring 2003.

At the same time, the Tate Gallery at Millbank, Tate Modern at Bankside and Tate Gallery St Ives, will be supporting Liverpool in the competition.

Frankfurt-born Mr Grunenberg said: "The Tate is very much behind us and supporting the city's bid.

"Liverpool has lagged behind in urban regeneration and is five years behind Manchester and Leeds.

"But this time the up-turn is for good and investors are really beginning to believe in the city. It is a fantastic place and so much friendlier than London."

Mr Grunenberg stressed the importance of the city's high culture, including the Tate, but said it was important not to forget the role of community activities.

He said: "You have to focus on these because they are the brands that everyone recognises.

"Art, education and regeneration is also important and Liverpool has played a pioneering role which has been copied by the other Tates.

"It has the Tate, the Walker Art Gallery and the Philharmonic Orchestra. Liverpool, more than the other cities, has international recognition.

"People know about the Beatles and music and Cream. They know about football.

"If you think of Birmingham, what do you think of? It is a faceless city. If you think of Newcastle/Gateshead, what do you think of? Many people do not have anything to associate with them."

Last night, a spokesperson for Tate Modern in London, said the organisation was considering what form the support could take at other galleries.

She said: "We think it is a wonderful idea and Tate as an organisation is totally behind Mr Grunenberg and Liverpool's role.

"It is early days yet and we do not know how we will be involved. It will become clearer as the bid process draws to a close.

"But I can confirm we are fully committed to Liverpool bidding to become Capital of Culture and will be doing everything we can to help."


STRONG CASE: Investors are finally starting to believe in Liverpool, says Christoph Grunenberg, director of the city's Tate Gallery,
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Oct 26, 2001
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