Playtime at the Modern Institute
GI, as it's known, now covers every available space in the city. Glasgow's cheap rents - in relation to London at least! - encourage an array of shop fronts, damp corners, flats etc as venues, but a new place is the famous, now derelict KELVIN HALL built in 1927 right opposite Kelvingrove Art Gallery.Kelvin Hall, soon to be transformed via 14 million quid into a .... well no-one is quite sure what! A cultural hub? Maybe. For Glasgow Museums; Sport, National Library of Scotland & GU??
Now even the sadly decaying walls and - no lifts folks- lots of dirty stairs - are open for art.
This year's theme is "making, production & craft," with some links to the "legacy of industry." This has encouraged rather too much involvement with yarn/wool/fabric etc.
Here 2 women employ materials - fabric, leather, cotton fabric - to address ideas culled from previous long ago festivals.
HELEN JOHNSON, an Australian, takes Glasgow's 1901 International Exhibition as her inspiration to create 6 huge canvas hangings for the Foyer which involve both figuration & abstraction, colonial nation-building, Greek myths, Renaissance masterpieces .. "history as cynicism"- all explained in pretentious text.
However her SURFACES & patterned textures are great. If u ignore the pathetic scribbled notes on the back & focus on the front of "Colonial Reef" or "Rape of Europa, Australian Version" u will be intrigued & rewarded.
KELVIN HALL is GREAT space for these 2 artists who work big. I was impressed by Helen but again disappointed by Claire Barclay, who seems to have run out of her former energy & ideas.
Upstairs - and I mean up lots of stairs - BARCLAY addresses the 1951 Exhibition (a satellite of the famous Festival of Britain) & its coal & steel prominence. I went to the Festival of Britain, taken by my parents who were high with hope for the future after a terrible war spent in Sheffield among the bombing. I remember it all vividly. I am sure the Glasgow event was a similar excitement.
Barclay's installation mixes leather, rubber, engine grease, soot & coal tar with small machined metals in her efforts "to explore how meanings are encapsulated within materials." The problem is nothing comes thro. The installation is also too small for this imposing space.
It's part of COOKING SECTIONS curated by VERBureau, 5 friends including Olga Stebleua from Moscow via Sothebys London art course. Titled 'Pokey Hat" it's based at The New Glasgow Society, along with a video, sound piece & book. The space is very empty & all pretty boring. - spart from the ice-cream!
Nicolas PARTY has made a superb job of installing his small intense mezzotints.
see Giles's excellent review.
John Calcutt & Sam Ainsley
Downstairs Rachel Duckhouse & Bronwen Sleigh.In October 2014 these 2 printmakers went to Quebec City for an exchange exhibition between Glasgow Print Studio and Engramme.
This Canadian landscape informs their work. I have long been a fan & am delighted to see such rigorous printmaking. top Duckhouse, bottom Sleigh.
Also on show at GPS work by Andreas Behn-EschenburgMeanwhile back in NEW YORK CITY at the Rockefeller Centre ...
This new extravaganza from the Public Art Fund, is located right on 5th Avenue opposite Saks & St Patricks. Unveiled today, it's no match for St Patricks Cathedral. Even sightseers/tourists/regulars were focused on the newly cleaned cathedral rather than -
ELMGREEN & DRAGSET's full scale UPRIGHT GARDEN SWIMMING POOL SCULPTURE complete with diving board & ladder. Titled "Van Gogh's ear" it aims for a playful Surreal Duchampian effect. Not sure it succeeds.
Next time - CORNELIA PARKER - public art installation on the roof of the MET & TRAMWAY and more GI in Glasgow .....
to be continued