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Liverpool Stages Modern Art Show

September 29, 1999

LIVERPOOL, England (AP) _ The Atlantic Ocean port of Liverpool is awash with ultra-modern art in the latest sign of a vigorous revival after decades of industrial decline.

The Liverpool Biennial of Contemporary Art is showing works by 350 artists from 29 countries at 61 sites across the city through Nov. 7.

The show includes paintings in traditional frames hanging on walls but, dotted about the city, there also are such items as porcelain land mines bearing pictures of Princess Diana.

A heap of sand, sculptures of human bones, videos, paintings on billboards in neglected streets and an inflatable rubber elephant all are part of the art show.

Even the Anglican cathedral, the country’s largest church, has loaned its nave to Colombian artist Doris Salcedo for what appears to be a nondescript group of furniture. Up close, they reveal subtle distortions: Human hair covers a table, and cement seals a wardrobe.

``I don’t think anybody realized how big it was going to be, but I hope it all has a sense of common purpose,″ said Anthony Bond, a Briton running the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, who spent 15 months putting the show together.

Bond made two round-the-world trips to find the artists and devised a theme for them in the main exhibition, which he calls ``Trace.″

``I asked them to make art which explores memories and associations, and many of the works are highly sensual, using sound, smell and touch as well as vision, connecting with Liverpool’s long history and its links through ships with all the world,″ Bond said.

Liverpool, located in northern England, was founded in 1207. Enriched by maritime commerce, it fell on hard times starting in the 1960s, with changes in cargo handling and the collapse of heavy industry. But it remains the country’s principal port for Atlantic trade.

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