More Attractive Than a Share Certificate; Damien Hirst and Lucian Freud Are among the Artists Featured in Ceri Hand's New Selling Show, She Tells Laura Davis
Byline: Laura Davis
SHHHHH! Don't move. Ignore the irksome itch at the tip of your nose or the bit of fallen leaf that's attached itself to your left shoe.
The bald man next to you may be sitting uncomfortably close, but you mustn't wriggle. Level your breathing - in, out, in out, slowly. No sudden gasps for air.
What's that? You really need to scratch your nose? Don't even think about it. No, stop! Stop! Seriously!
Too late - you've bought a pounds 13m Picasso.
This is how many of us imagine the process of buying art must be like - packed auction houses, aggressive bidding and the constant fear of accidentally swapping your house for a dead hippopotamus in a fish-tank.
It can however, be a calmer experience - wandering around a gallery to see if something catches your eye.
Ceri Hand, who set up Liverpool's premier commercial contemporary art gallery after stints as director of Metal (Liverpool), director of exhibitions at FACT and a contributing curator to the 2004 and 2006 Liverpool Biennials, is attempting to provide just that.
As well as curating regular exhibitions of work by emerging and mid-career artists she represents at her former warehouse space on Cotton Street, close to Stanley Dock, she organises selling shows of pieces by famous names.
The last one, in March, was so successful that she is taking over a bigger gallery at Liverpool's Contemporary Urban Centre next week for an exhibition of limited edition prints, oil paintings and ceramics by major artists of a range of periods from Matisse, Picasso, Chagall and Miro to Damien Hirst and Julian Opie.
"We've tried to choose a range of work so there are landscapes and portraits in there, as well as ceramics," says Hand.
"Because of the variety of people who use the CUC, it's quite a diverse audience, and we're hoping people will enjoy the exhibition even if they are not looking to buy."
Works range from pounds 500 to pounds 50,000, with more affordable pieces including etchings from former National Gallery artist-in-residence Maggi Hamblings's Waves series.
A Hirst silk screen print or David Hockney etching would set you back at least a few thousand, and a Matisse lithograph around six times that.
"One of the key works is a poster Francis Bacon did for a Van Gogh exhibition," says Hand. …