The Information on: `Heaven' at the Tate Gallery, Liverpool
Thursday 16 December 1999
A diverting, jokey, yet somewhat incoherent contemporary art exhibition about religion and pop culture in modern-day life, which has provoked controversy over its statue of Princess Diana as the Madonna. Devised in Germany, the show had its first run in Dusseldorf before opening last week at the Tate Gallery in Liverpool.
Who's In It?
The wide-ranging show has art and artefacts about Elvis and Michael Jackson (right), children and virtual reality, fashion and bodybuilding and aliens from space. It also includes fantasy couture and real-life star relics such as a bustier of Madonna's and one of Jackson's gloves.
What They Say About It
"This art exhibition must have been a very complicated and expensive thing to organise, it asks an hour or two of your time, it runs for months - and all the while it's sustained by no more than a bit of mental fluff headlined `Celebrity - Is It the New Religion?'... This is not a specific blasphemy against any established religion. It is a general and most disgusting blasphemy against the human mind," Tom Lubbock, The Independent.
"No one seems to notice how badly it is sculpted, how wretched it is, or how feeble an idea it is to have pin-up pop stars and fashion models transformed into Renaissance painted icons. There's a lump in my throat, but I'm not going to cry; I think I'm going to vomit," Adrian Searle, The Guardian.
"Like most of the exhibits in it, the Tate's show is knowingly jokey. You can't help feeling, though, that there is also something singular and serious going on, and that it might have been interesting to know what it was..."
Charles Darwent, The Independent on Sunday.
Where You Can See It
Heaven is at the Tate Gallery, Liverpool (0151-702 7400) until 27 Feb
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