You can tell there is a lot of subsidy going into FACT in Liverpool. A multi-purpose art gallery, cinema and media centre it is a Scouse ICA in a barn. The building is so open, airy and large that you do slowly start thinking about wasted space. Not least with the Sarah Kent curated “Critics Favourite” exhibition which finally allows me to completely disregard her writing in Time Out. That said the Vito Acconci exhibition in April may be worth a special visit (it looks like an expanded version of the exhibition me and Tim saw in New York last year).

The very airiness of the building did make me wonder about the prevailing trend in galleries. Its does seem that white, plain and uncluttered is the preferred option: and you can see the argument for the surroundings not interfering with the art experience. However since the surrounds always will, why is white any more preferable to any other backing? And why high ceiling, big rooms and enormous unthreatening entrance foyers?

I liked FACT a lot, and happily spent the lions share of the day bouncing from gallery, to cinema, to cafe with free wi-fi. The cinemas were some of the nicest I have seen in Britain and are a triumph for the Picturehouse chain, (as much as that chain threatens to annoy me: arthouse gatekeepers are still gatekeepers). But without subsidy places like FACT could not exist, and I am not sure providing huge atriums is the best spend for our artsy money.