The Walker Art Gallery has announced a ground-breaking new exhibition combining fashion, football and art, as told from the terraces of the stadiums.
Art of the Terraces (5 November 2022 to 12 March 2023) is the first major exhibition to tell the story of a movement that defined sports culture of the 1970s, 80s and 90s.
This pioneering exhibition considers the culture of football ‘casuals’, which began on Britain’s football terraces in the late 1970s. Through the medium of art, it highlights the clothing brands and sports footwear, music and encounters between rival groups of football supporters which defined an era and generation.
In a fusion of art, fashion and popular culture, Art of the Terraces explores the work of a generation of contemporary artists and designers who have been influenced by this movement over the last 40 years. It celebrates a cultural scene that has been overlooked by the mainstream art world, but which has created its own dynamic art forms and which is now credited with the mass popularisation of sportswear as leisurewear – a worldwide phenomenon.
Visitors will see artwork by leading contemporary artists such as Leo Fitzmaurice, Turner Prize winners Mark Leckey and Mark Wallinger, Pete McKee, Lucy McKenzie, Ross Muir and Dave White.
Pauline Rushton, Head of Decorative Arts at National Museums Liverpool, said, “It’s been our ambition for a long time to hold an exhibition of this kind at the Walker. Terrace culture originated among football fans here in the North West in the 1970s, and it’s difficult to overemphasise quite how far-reaching its influence has become.
“We’ll consider the highs and lows of going to the match, and the sense of identity and belonging that could be discovered and signalled to others through wearing a certain pair of trainers or branded sports top.”
The story of the movement, its wider significance in British and European popular culture and its artistic legacy will be told through more than 100 paintings, graphic designs and fashion items, as well as installations, video and installation art.
This movement created a whole new approach to fashion, which still inspires brand loyalty today, and has attracted a new generation of fans of retro and classic sportswear and footwear. National Museums Liverpool is the first British museum to present the story of this sub-culture, which has had significant and far-reaching influence.
Dave Hewitson, exhibition partner and creator of the 80sCasuals website and clothing brand, said, “This wasn’t just a group of kids following fashion and wearing the latest trends, these kids were creating their own trends and style. The clothes, the attitude and ultimately the match defined the culture.”
Art of the Terraces is led by National Museums Liverpool in collaboration with four external partners: Dave Hewitson, creator of the 80sCasuals website and clothing brand; Hamburg-based artist Jens Wagner; illustrator Peter O’Toole and brand designer Adam Gill of Grammar Studio, Huddersfield. Staff and students of the Fashion: Design & Communication BA (Hons) course at Liverpool’s John Moores University are also collaborating on the exhibition. It is supported by Scotts Menswear and Tessuti.
If visitors enjoy Art of the Terraces, we’re asking them to pay what they think is appropriate, to support our museums and art galleries. Visitor contributions enable us to offer a rich programme of exhibitions and events, supports us in caring for our internationally known collections and reaching thousands of young people each year.
Image: Untitled, 80sCasuals Jamie Pike