Art in A City

BookArt in A City

Art in A City


October 1st, 2007





This classic text, reissued to coincide with the 800th anniversary of the City of Liverpool, was originally published in 1967. It is a milestone in the examination of urban arts movements and also provides the starting point for looking at art in Liverpool from the 1960s to the present day. Based on a survey commissioned by the Bluecoat Society of Arts, the author did something that had never before been done for a single city, and arguably has never been done since. He surveyed the history of the visual arts in the city, looked at the cultural and institutional environment in which they developed, and asked the people of Liverpool how they viewed the visual arts in Liverpool – both in terms of public art and art in enclosed spaces. Willett saw a place with strong traditions in the visual arts, with new developments associated with the city’s emergence in the 1960s as a centre for music and poetry.

Author Information

John Willett was born in Hampstead in 1917. During the war he was an intelligence officer based in England, the Middle East and Italy. In 1951 he wrote his acclaimed book The Theatre of Bertolt Brecht (Willett was a friend of Brecht). In 1960 he became Assistant Editor of the TLS where he stayed until 1967.

Table of Contents

Section TitlePage
Introduction: 'Art in a city is not a static affair'
List of illustrations
1. Problem and place
2. Views of the past
3. Established institutions
4. Art in Public
5. Questions of taste
6. Educating the eye
7. The artists
8. The wider scene
9. Points of doctrine
10. A plan of campaign
A Questionnaire: the visual arts in Liverpool
B Five cities and the visual arts
C Project for a 'Look at Liverpool' exhibition