Thursday 3 April 2014


Today as I was driving to Govanhill Public Baths, (no, not to swim, to see an art installation) I heard Glasgow Life director Bridget McConnell announcing on BBC that part of July's opening ceremony for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow will be the demolition of the notorious Red Road flats. Built in the 1950s as part of a maligned housing project, they have long been a big problem.

                                                        Govanhill Baths 
Whether this is a good idea will be vigorously debated, but it certainly shows that Glasgow does things differently in an 'authentic' way! 
 Likewise GI, or Glasgow International, opening tomorrow. This is the 6th biennial of visual arts events and exhibition with this year's ex's leaning heavily on the moving image, film, video, sound side.

As is the RSA or Royal Scottish Academy in its 188th annual. The splendid newish downstairs rooms are the film focus, beautifully installed & curated by Ronnie Forbes, and comprehensive in its stretch from Muybridge to recent graduates. Will GI last 188 years?? I fear not.
However back to Govanhill where Anthea Hamilton & Nicholas Byrne show LOVE, a series of enormous inflatables printed with famous images from Brancusi, Maplethorpe, Rodin, etc and of course Robert Indiana. Phallic & sexy, this light-hearted colourful display was first seen in London's Poplar St Baths as part of the 2012 Olympics.  

While GI trumpets "50 shows and 90 events featuring 150 artists", the RSA itself has over 400 exhibits. Well known names like Elizabeth Blackadder, Ian McCulloch, Tracy Mackenna & Alan Davie features alongside young Kyle Noble  & others. However I am not convinced that doing away with ARSA associates & separating the Academicians from 'the rest' is a good idea. Time will tell. 
                                  PA Bruno, Clare & Edi Stark at the RSA
Edinburgh also has a start-up Hidden Door Festival in damp cold dark vaults (Bronwen Sleigh the best by far) while Glasgow's Open House - 70 artists showing in 36 unusual citywide venues starts next week. 

Bridget McConnell's announcement stressed the city's flourishing artistic side & its mass of Tate Turner winners & nominees. Good to hear the visual arts to the fore again. 

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