The White Space: 50th Anniversary of The Beatles’ White Album will take place in the Atrium Gallery at the John Lennon Building, Liverpool School of Art and Design, Liverpool John Moores University from 13th – 16th March 2018.
On the 22nd November 1968, The Beatles released what has commonly become known as The White Album. It was a trail-blazing double album, unlike anything they had created before. The album is infused with influences in both the songs and artwork. It marks the second collaboration between The Beatles and the art world, a fusing of art and popular culture. The White Album and its predecessor Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band set a benchmark in album cover design and presentation.
The White Space studies The Beatles as an evolving band; the transitions from Beatlemania to Psychedelia and then Minimalism through The White Album. Notably, it is the first album they released on their newly-created record label Apple Records, a venture that made The Beatles business owners with the ability to create their own projects and films. The White Space exhibition presents archival materials such as press clippings, posters, magazines and rarely seen documents from Apple Records. The space will also feature music from The White Album and explore the creation of the album from the influences of Maharishi and Ravi Shankar.
The exhibition makes particular reference to the artwork and ephemera created by Richard Hamilton and investigates the influences of the minimalist artwork. The roots of ‘the white square’ will be traced from Kazimir Malevich and Suprematism. The album artwork will also be explored as a pop art artefact, presenting the idea that everyone can own a piece of art created by Richard Hamilton, in many ways becoming the ultimate Pop Art idea. It also examines The Beatles working alongside artists through such figures as art dealer Robert Fraser.
The exhibition also commemorates The Beatles’ side-projects in 1968, in particular John Lennon’s partnership with Yoko Ono and the first Unfinished Music album, the Yellow Submarine film, as well as George Harrison’s soundtrack album Wonderwall Music.
Through the exhibition, the audience is invited to relive The White Album era in 2018.
A catalogue featuring short essays about the album and its influences will be available in the exhibition space and in the blog section of this website.
This exhibition builds upon Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now – The Barry Miles Archive, a vast resource from the Liverpool John Moores University Special Collections and Archives.