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Liverpool's seventh Biennial festival set to be biggest ever

The autumn arts extravaganza will include a makeover of Everton park and the Cunard building opening to the public

There will be the Communist manifesto performed by a Russian slam poet rapper, a remake of Polanski's Chinatown with one actor playing all the parts, and a VIP door with bouncers but no entry. Liverpool has announced the art works it will be welcoming to its Biennial, the largest contemporary art festival in the UK.

Programme details were revealed on Tuesday for what is the seventh edition of a festival that takes place every two years over 10 weeks across the whole city.

Sally Tallant, the Biennial's new director, appointed last November from her previous job as chief curator at London's Serpentine gallery, said there were more venues and organisations taking part than ever before. "Liverpool offers the richest visual arts environment anywhere in the UK outside London," she said. "It has more galleries and museums and commissions, more new art than any other city except the capital."

Because it is the Olympic year, organisers have decided on a theme of hospitality. Tallant said: "It is a way of thinking about the welcome we extend to strangers and how we define what hospitality might mean in the 21st century."

Among the commissions will be US artist Doug Aitken installing a work on Albert Dock in a structure designed by architect David Adjaye; Argentinian Jorge Macchi wedging a huge shipping container into the Walker art gallery, and Scandinavians Elmgreen & Dragset making a VIP door with bouncers that people cannot pass through.

Other highlights include the French artist Sylvie Blocher presenting a work in which she filmed unusual performers delivering historically important speeches and manifestos, Ming Wong remaking the 1974 movie Chinatown starring himself in all the roles, and James Corner collaborating in a makeover of Everton park, introducing wild flowers and food crops.

It was also announced that the city's Cunard building, one of the "three graces" along the Mersey shoreline between the Royal Liver building and the Port of Liverpool building, would be an exhibition venue, opening to the public for the first time.

Paula Ridley, chair of the Biennial, said the event seemed to get bigger every time it was staged: in 2008, 624,000 people attended, generating £27m of income to the local economy. "It makes a huge contribution to Liverpool," she said, "both economically and we hope, socially and artistically. We love to do it."

• Liverpool Biennial runs 15 September-25 November. © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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