The Atkinson: Wish You Were Here?

Jeremy Deller

23 August – 9 November 2014

Open daily


Selected from Jeremy Cooper’s major artists’ postcards collection, Wish you were here? presents works by a number of major contemporary artists including a rare postcard made by John Lennon, and David Hockney’s only artist postcard.
Featuring over 200 artists including Carl Andre, Richard Long, Bruce Nauman, Joseph Beuys, Yoko Ono, Ben Vautier, Gilbert & George, Susan Hiller, Gavin Turk, Tacita Dean and Mark Wallinger amongst many others, this touring exhibition is a unique opportunity to see works from the collection, some for the first time, before its donation to the British Museum Prints and Drawings Department in 2018.

The familiar postcard phrase Wish You Were Here, appropriated by several artists in the exhibition can be traced back to the early 20th century tourist postcard. It may be less straight-forward than it appears, gathering to itself a host of complex longings, dreams and regrets. People spend many years longing to be somewhere else, feeling that things would somehow be better if only they lived elsewhere or were someone else, as expressed in some of the postcards with titles including: Wish You Were Her, I Wish I Were You, Wish I was There and always wanting to be somewhere else.

Gilbert and George
Gilbert and George

The exhibition however goes beyond the cliché of its title and looks at the remarkable diversity in which artists have considered the postcard as a medium in its own right, through which we can trace important moments in the history of Modern and Contemporary art from the 1960s to the present day.

Manipulated, collaged or originally produced, artists’ postcards express an idea, aesthetic and intellectual, most of them postable, even if made out of wood, bone or stone. Whether creating fictions, social comments or visual humour, they are fascinating and exquisite small works of art in their own right.

For more information please visit or call the box office on 01704 533333

The Atkinson, Lord Street, Southport PR8 1DB