Yoko Ono Event At The Bluecoat For Heritage Open Days

A talk on the artist, plus a series of behind the scenes building tours and open studios.
Mag North
August 20, 2023

This September the Bluecoat will celebrate Heritage Open Days, England's largest festival of history and culture, with a talk on the arts centre's long relationship with iconic artist Yoko Ono.

A leading figure in conceptual and performance art, experiemental film and music, Ono first visited the Bluecoat in 1967, when she presented an event, Music of the Mind and the world premiere of The Fog Machine, to a packed hall. Featuring audience interaction, it included people being invited to wrap her in bandages. Returning to the venue in 2008 during Liverpool's European Capital of Culture celebrations, she referenced this previous event by asking the audience to this time unwrap her.

Responding to this year's Heritage Open Days theme of 'Unwrapping Creativity', the Bluecoat's Director of Cultural Legacies, Bryan Biggs, will explore both these events in a fascinating free talk. This will be illustrated by archival material including some relating to other events at the arts centre associated with Ono, such as Bed-In at the Bluecoat, 2010.

Bryan Biggs says "The events by Yoko Ono are key moments in the Bluecoat's history, and an important part of our cultural legacy. We are delighted to be able to take the opportunity of Heritage Open Days to revisit them, and bring them to the attention of people who may not have been able to visit at the time."

Heritage Open Days also sees two tours of the Bluecoat's Grade I listed building take place, when its 300 year history and transformation from charity school to arts centre will be revealed. There will be a particular emphasis on the last century of creativity that has included a wide-ranging cast of characters who visited or presented their work at the Bluecoat including Picasso, Matisse and Stravinsky, through to contemporary artists like Sonia Boyce, Jeremy Deller and John Akomfrah.

Yoko Ono

The work of the Bluecoat's studio artists will also be 'unwrapped' during Heritage Open Days, as they open their doors to the public. This will be a great opportunity to meet some of our creative community and find out about their practices, which range from painting and photography to jewellery and illustration. Our printmaking studios will also be open for demonstrations.  

The full schedule of events is as follows:

Yoko Ono, Unwrapped, Friday 8 September, 7pm.

Heritage building tours, Saturday 9 September and Sunday 10 September, 2pm.

Intaglio studio tour, Saturday 9 September, 12-3pm.

Open Studios drop-in, Saturday 9 September, 12-4pm

Etching Demonstrations, Saturday 9 September, running on the hour at 12pm, 1pm and 2pm  

For full details of all events, and to book, visit the Bluecoat's website HERE