Tate Liverpool: The Serving Library

unnamed7 November 2014 – 8 February 2015 

Open daily 10am – 5.50pm (Last admission at 5pm)


This autumn Tate Liverpool presents The Serving Library. Including a collection of art works, artefacts, books and other materials, it will ask visitors to reconsider the traditional role of the library.

Drawing on 14 years of the publications Dot Dot Dot and Bulletins of The Serving Library, illustrations from the journals’ pages reappear in their original forms as exhibited works. Featuring around 100 such objects, The Serving Library at Tate Liverpool will include airbrush paintings by UK-based artist Chris Evans, a stencil print of Muriel Cooper’s pioneering 1977 Polaroid self-portrait, an upside down photograph of Harry Beck’s 1931 London Underground map sketch, and a ouija board made by artist and designer Paul Elliman for a séance to contact artist Josef Albers.

The Serving Library will be ‘resident’ within the architectural structure designed by French architect Claude Parent and built in the Wolfson Gallery. Entitled La colline de l’art (Art Hill) 2014, it was originally installed as part of Liverpool Biennial exhibition, A Needle Walks into a Haystack. The Serving Library is running concurrently with Transmitting Andy Warhol and Gretchen Bender to form Tate Liverpool’s autumn/winter season. Entitled Making Things Public, visitors will explore how artists from different generations have responded to and experimented with the pervasive influence of mass and broadcast media.


In parallel to the display of The Serving Library collection, visitors can also take part in a series of talks that respond to themes and ideas explored in Transmitting Andy Warhol and Gretchen Bender. In addition to these events, 6 writers will produce new texts in response to the season’s concepts that will form the basis of the next Bulletins of The Serving Library publication issued both online and in print. The Serving Library website www.servinglibrary.org distributes each bulletin in the form of a freely downloadable PDF first, then the loosely themed batch of essays and articles is collected and published as a printed journal: Bulletins of The Serving Library.

The presentation of The Serving Library in a temporary exhibition form highlights it as an evolving project that generates a pool of knowledge around the tools with which information and ideas are communicated. The Serving Library is a non-profit organisation that will eventually establish a fixed home with a flexible range of functions, operating simultaneously as a library, a bar and a seminar-room. The exhibition at Tate Liverpool is the next step in this development.

The Serving Library is run and co-curated by artists and designers Stuart Bailey, Angie Keefer and David Reinfurt alongside Tamsin Dillon, Head of Exhibitions, Tate Liverpool.Image credit: The Serving Library symbol, 2011. Neon. Installation of The Serving Library’s archive of ‘source material’ at Culturgest, Porto, Portugal 2009


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here