Adrian Henri (1932-2000) trained as a painter at King’s College, Newcastle, and taught at Liverpool Art College in the 1960s. Urban landscapes and comic book heroes betray his early Pop Art sensibility, whilst his crisp hyperrealist “Meat” series contrasts with his later atmospheric landscapes and hallucinatory “urban fantasies.”
Henri came to prominence as a writer alongside Roger McGough and Brian Patten in the groundbreaking and irreverently contemporary Penguin anthology The Mersey Sound (1967), one of the best-selling poetry books of all time (over a quarter of a million copies to date). He went on to publish numerous poetry collections for adults and children. He was also a playwright, novelist and librettist.
Performance was central to his practice: he staged the first ever Happenings in Britain and from the 1960s onwards, he performed his work widely in the UK and abroad. He fronted the poetry and rock band Liverpool Scene, prompting John Peel to call him “one of the great non-singers of our time,” and he collaborated with jazz, rock and classical musicians throughout his career.
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