National Museums Liverpool unveil new programme for Autumn/Winter 2024

A celebration of LGBTQ+ icon and music legend Holly Johnson, a bedazzling 1920s garment exhibition and an incredible collection of work by Black British women and non-binary artists are among the highlights in National Museums Liverpool’s (NML) Autumn/Winter 2024/25 programme.

Laura Pye, Director at National Museums Liverpool, said, “We’re delighted to announce our rich and varied programme for this Autumn/Winter at NML. Our diverse programme is an impressive celebration of artistic expression, from the historical to the contemporary.”   

Opening at Museum of Liverpool on Saturday, 14 September 2024, The Holly Johnson Story explores the incredible life and art of Holly and the heritage of LGBTQ+ communities in Liverpool.  

Thanks to a grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, National Museums Liverpool has partnered with local arts organisations Homotopia and DuoVision in collaboration with Holly Johnson to deliver this landmark exhibition.

The Holly Johnson Story takes visitors on a journey through Holly’s outstanding career, and his journey from the stages of Liverpool all the way to international stardom.  

The opening of this exhibition also marks the 40th anniversary of the release of Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s Welcome to the Pleasuredome featuring Relax, Two Tribes, and The Power of Love. 

This October the Walker Art Gallery will host a major exhibition celebrating Black British women and non-binary artists: Conversations running from 19 October 2024 to 9 March 2025.  This ambitious exhibition brings together work by nearly 50 leading Black women and non-binary artists who are transforming contemporary British art today, including paintings, sculpture and video from the last ten years. 

Critically Acclaimed British-Trinidadian artist Karen McLean is set to Explore Liverpool’s Colonial Legacies at Walker Art Gallery with her installation Stitching Souls: Threads of Silence, opening 28 September 2024 and running until 2 March 2025.

The display explores Liverpool’s colonial legacies and the city’s role as a major British port during the 19th century, when its wealth was derived from the profits of the transatlantic slave trade, its associated economies, and the forced labour of enslaved African people. Inspired by the Walker’s extensive collection of merchant portraits, McLean’s work emphasises how these atrocities have been silenced throughout British history and how these legacies continue to resonate today through emotional traumas and inequalities.  

Also making its way to the Walker Art Gallery, innovative glass artist Chris Day brings a stunning blown glass and mixed media commission Now You See Me from 6 August 2024 to 24 November 2024. The installation is presented in collaboration with the Contemporary Art Society and will be displayed alongside the painting that inspired it – ‘The Card Party’ by Gawen Hamilton (1698-1737).  

Dive into a century of glamour at the Lady Lever Art Gallery with Bedazzled from 5 October 2024 – 2 March 2025. This exhibition showcases an exquisite range of garments from the 1920s to the present day. Explore the evolution of style, craftsmanship, and the cultural significance of evening wear over the past 100 years, highlighting the artistry and elegance of fashion through the decades. 

Explore the music scene in Liverpool’s bustling 1960s Merseybeat era at Museum of Liverpool’s Skylight Gallery with Beyond the Beat from 29 June 2024- 3 November 2024. This display of 16 previously unseen photographs taken from a huge archive by Peter Kaye Photography, captures the essence of the Merseybeat scene. The energy of the clubs, the enthusiasm of the crowds and the power of the musicians to captivate their audiences. 

Magnus Hastings, renowned for his internationally acclaimed work with drag performers and the LGBTQ+ community brings Queen by Magnus Hastings to the Walker Art Gallery, 27 July 2024- 25 August 2024. Magnus has photographed an array of drag superstars and iconic celebrities such as Todrick Hall, Boy George, Luke Evans, and Cheyenne Jackson. In this upcoming display Hastings will showcase a curated selection of his most famous photographs, featuring portraits of renowned drag queens like Bianca del Rio, Courtney Act, and Trixie Mattel. The exhibition will also debut newly commissioned, never-before-seen photographs spotlighting Liverpool’s legendary drag artists, captured in the city’s vibrant Pride Quarter. 

Currently running at World Museum until 5 May 2025 is Bees: A Story of Survival. This immersive exhibition brings together art and science to explore one of nature’s most incredible creatures – the bee. Journey into the fascinating world of bees in ways that have never been experienced before. A soundscape connects you to a live beehive, constantly changing in response to the activity of the colony.

Discover the wonder of these tiny creatures through interactives, sculpture, projection and light. This exhibition is a groundbreaking story of 120 million years of adaptation and survival, designed and produced by Wolfgang Buttress Studio and developed in collaboration with National Museums Liverpool. 

Image: THE HOLLY JOHNSON STORY ©Trevor Leighton, 1989

Why not follow birkenhead.news on Facebook, Twitter, and Threads? You can also send story ideas or letters to the editor to news@birkenhead.news