Holly Johnson Exhibition Opens In Liverpool, UK - Noise11.com
Frankie Goes To Hollywood photo by John Johnson from the FGTH Facebook page

Frankie Goes To Hollywood photo by John Johnson from the FGTH Facebook page

Holly Johnson Exhibition Opens In Liverpool, UK

by Music-News.com on November 22, 2023

in News

Liverpool arts organisations Homotopia and DuoVision today announce a grant of £142,000 from the National Lottery Heritage Fund for The Power of Holly – a new exhibition documenting the life and work of pioneering LGBTQIA+ musician, songwriter and artist Holly Johnson (Frankie Goes To Hollywood.)

The project will explore Johnson’s personal archive and work with Merseyside based LGBTQIA+ sexual health and wellness charity Sahir House, to capture the stories of local LGBTQIA+ people in community workshops and oral history sessions over the next year.

The research will conclude with a unique exhibition celebrating the 40th anniversary of Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s meteoric rise to global fame, and explore Holly’s amazing story from Liverpool’s punk scene to international stardom. National Museums Liverpool will support the research and development of this landmark exhibition.

In a direct response to the outreach work, Homotopia and DuoVision will commission local artists to creatively contribute to the project and showcase Liverpool’s rich artistic LGBTQIA+ heritage and talent.

Homotopia is the UK’s longest running LGBTQIA+ arts festival, now in its twentieth year. This year’s festival, themed Gods and Monsters, will include a series of oral history workshops for World AIDs Day – also in conjunction with National Museums Liverpool and Sahir House. Between 29 November and 1 December 2023, a series of oral history sessions will tackle topics including living with HIV, Liverpool’s 80s music and culture, and remembering those we have lost through HIV and AIDS. Stories captured during these sessions will feature in the forthcoming exhibition.

Holly Johnson said: “The opportunity to mount this exhibition is actually like winning the National Lottery for me! As a teenager, music and art were my passion – reading Jean Genet, William Burroughs and listening to the music of The Beatles, Marc Bolan, David Bowie and The Velvet Underground – seeing the films of Derek Jarman and Andy Warhol along with his super-charged colour paintings. Pondering over Peter Blake’s Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band artwork as a child led me ultimately to Hollywood and back again. Everything I was ever drawn to, through the lens of Queerness and controversy, I have brought with me into the future we live in now.”

Kevin McManus, Head of UNESCO City of Music, Culture Liverpool said: “Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s importance in British music should not be underestimated: they changed the world with their music in the 1980s and achieved the rare feat of their first three singles all reaching Number One in the charts.”

Liverpool is renowned as a city of music and Holly Johnson has played a huge part in building our magnificent musical heritage. He could only have come from Liverpool and it is fitting that this exhibition is taking place in his home city.”


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