Liverpool and New York: a groovy kind of love

From Muddy Waters to Earthbeat, transatlantic music ties revealed in art show from Specials and La's founders

Written by  The Confidentials | Follow @ | Thursday, 30 July 2015 14:03

WORKS  of art by Specials bassist Horace Panter and La's founder Mike Badger go on show for thefirst time in Liverpool next week in a visual celebration the city's musical history with the United States.

Liverpool: Next Stop New York opens at View Two at 23 Mathew Street and runs until the end of August. It is one of the main curtain-raisers to this year’s Liverpool International Music Festival and a specific strand of events which puts under the spotlight "the music that formed a unique bond between two transatlantic cities".

Curated by RedHouse Originals, the show will explore the links between Liverpool and New York and how the relationship was enhanced by a love and appreciation of black American music and culture from the 1940s onwards.

While the rest of post-war Britain was attempting to bop to the big band music of the likes of Geraldo and Joe Loss, there was a very different tune to dance to in Liverpool.

The Cunarders and other ocean ships were used as transporters of all things American, including its music from the blues of Memphis and New Orleans to the Goffin and King beats of the Brill Building. It was a revolution that would eventually lead to the Mersey Beat, the Beatles and a music that changed the world.

One of the new collages by Horace Panter, bassist in The SpecialsOne of the new collages by Horace Panter, bassist in The Specials


Original work will also be on show from artists, including Pete McKee, Low Coney and The Studio of Ezra, across a range of media including painting, collage, sculpture and photography. Bringing it up to more recent times is Liverpool photographer Mark McNulty with a selection of his archive from the 1980s and 1990s.

Horace Panter graduated with a degree in Fine Art from Coventry’s Lanchester Polytechnic in 1975. It was there that he met Jerry Dammers and together they formed The Specials, a band that went on to become one of the most defining British bands of the 1980s. He travelled the world (and its art galleries) as a musician and, from 1998-2008, was the ‘Head of Art’ in a secondary school. It was in 2008, when The Specials reformed, that he found he had the time to explore his own art practice.

Mike Badger, whose guitar sculpture, seen here, is among the works on show, was co-founder of Liverpool band The La’s in the early 1980s and has since achieved success in his own right as a musician and visual artist.

Badger is a pioneering sculptor and has worked on numerous public commissions, often using reclaimed materials and found objects.

Mike Badger, founder member of the Las and his guitar contraption sculpture Mike Badger, founder member of the La's, has made this guitar-contraption-sculpture

Richard McTague from  RedHouse Originals who is curating the View Two event said: “The collection will be complemented by a range of historical and archive photography, documenting what was a fascinating period.  There will be contributions from original Cunard Yanks and selections from various archives, - including the Liverpool Echo, International Slavery Museum, and National Museums Liverpool.”

The exhibition also features additional historical photography - including shots of Liverpool 8 by Tricia Porter  Steve Howe, unseen photographs from Earthbeat by Roger Sinek. 

In addition, a series of eight exclusively commissioned portraits by Liverpool-based photographer Robin Clewley will also be on display for the first time.  These will  feature some of key contributors to the Next Stop New York project.

Liverpool: Next Stop New York, launch event 6 - 8pm, Thursday, August  6, 2015  at View Two Gallery, 23 Mathew Street, Liverpool, L2 6RE, Afterwards open Fridays and Saturdays noon till 5pm and at other times by arrangement until the end of August.