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Review: Judy Chicago: Fixing a Hole

Judy Chicago: Fixing a Hole
Stanley Dock (Titanic Hotel) until 30th June

Words, Patrick Kirk-Smith

On an empty building in Stanley Dock, behind the Titanic Hotel, a little while out of the city centre and visible from the huge expanse of land where gigs and outdoor cinema became commonplace through 2016, stands a titanic Beatles mural by feminist artist Judy Chicago.

Four Lads from Liverpool, stand the 10ft words scrawled across the base of the painting, which perhaps alludes to far more than it actually intends. For me, born and bred on one side of the city, and living on the other, the mural symbolises the divides in the city that the music on this album bridges. But I imagine this work will find its own significance to each person who view it. Everyone has their own take on holes in need of bridging.

Responding to Fixing a Hole, track 5, the image encompasses a gigantic slit down the middle of the industrial building. The four stare across at each other, barely distinguishable from one another, as pop versions of themselves.

It’s a history that the entire city can relate to, whether you were a screaming girl at the concerts or not, this isn’t about having a favourite Beatle, it’s not about falling completely in love with their music, and you don’t even really need to know much about them. This work, for me, felt critical of the industry that built up around them; four lads from Liverpool, transformed into perfectly preened, perfectly presented global stars, because they wrote some good songs; four lads, taken, from Liverpool.

Sgt Pepper at 50, the festival coordinated by Culture Liverpool, for Liverpool City Council, is about bringing those four lads back. Whether it’s Jeremy Deller’s ‘Brian Epstein Died for You’, Peter Hooton’s ‘Zero Hours’ or this immaculately thought provoking image by Judy Chicago, the festival has commissioned work that seeks to reclaim the Beatles for this city, and this is a perfect way to do that.

For more about the festival, visit