2. Gallery News BLOG - July 2014 to



Curationism by David Balzer

137 Pages. An interesting insight into the development of art curation. Balzer plots the recent emergence of a new layer of 'star curators' such as Hans Ulrich Obrist (HUO) (who penned the term - the Glasgow Miracle) who have become necessary in order to explain conceptual or mind-based art to the market. In his words, as art 'de-materialised', moving from the visual study of subject or form on traditional canvas or structure mediums to a conceptual or objects-based approach, the introduction of powerful new curators has been necessary to analyse, explain and de-mystify the resulting mystification for the art consumer.

Balzer suggests that recent attempts to professionalise curation may act to commoditise and dampen approach, which could, in itself destroy the novelty that is needed for ideas to remain fresh. He points to the increasing use of curation techniques by performance artists such as Madonna or fashion designers like Karl Lagerfield or Tom Ford. He also highlights that in a digital and internet age, we as consumers have a much greater ability to curate our own content or consumption, albeit he criticises the potential damaging effects of the increasing use of powerful algorithms that may act to narrow and dampen our fields of consideration.

Interestingly, he suggests in summary that there are signs that conceptual art is breaking down and there is evidence of a return to modernist-formalist sculpture and painting, which he maintains, will produce a boring and backward effect.




A brilliant Mike Leigh production with Timothy Spall's performance and depiction of the artist, Joseph Mallord William (JMW) Turner (1775-1851) simply outstanding.

The film is a characterisation and an interpretation/insight into one of the Britain's most influential nineteenth century artists.

Turner. a Londoner, was admitted to a training programme at the Royal Academy at the precocious young age of 15 (1790). He became an Associate at 24 (1799) and an (RA) Academician at only 27 (1802). His early recognition and success secured his financial independence. From early river and landscapes, Turner went on to excel at Maritime paintings with a particular focus on climatic effects. The genius of his style pre-dated impressionist and abstraction techniques. He was so far ahead of his time that he was mocked and ridiculed by the art establishment and was publicly derided.

The film gives us an insight into the man who was totally focussed on the development of his art. His 'grunting' was memorable and he was shown to be friendly, kind and totally eccentric. A woman always featured in the sidelines of his day-to-day painting schedule. The film also reveals that Turner turned down an offer that would be the equivalent of tens of millions from a wealthy benefactor as he unselfishly, expressed a desire to 'leave his art to the nation'.

In December 2014, a Turner sold at Sothebys for £30.3 million - Rome from Mount Avetine, one of the last works held by a member of the public. This price represented the highest price ever paid for the works of a pre-twentieth century British artist.


Social Sculpture by Sarah Lowndes
The Rise of the Glasgow Art Scene
At 420 pages, you have to have a real interest in understanding Scottish Art - this book is not for the faint hearted.
Nevertheless a brilliantly researched, scripted and revealing overview of one of the recent phases of contemporary Scottish Art development – the development of the so-called 'Glasgow Miracle'. Lowndes tries to draw a link between class politics and political resistance with the development of the Glasgow aesthetic, which she suggests has been established from a base, which is typical of Glasgow – a sense of common purpose, social interactions and energised conversations (in other words pubs, gigs, parties and in-flat shows and performances). Indeed, she highlights an innovative, underfunded, DIY-based approach to the highly successful development of Glasgow artists, inter-mixed across a spectrum of music (for example, Travis, Franz Ferdinand and Belle and Sebastian) and the visual and performance arts. Lowndes plots two significant stages of revolution in the visual and performance arts with GSA's Alexander Moffat and the new image figurative period and GSA's David Harding and Sam Ainsley's Environmental Art Department, which was central to and spawned the domination of neo-conceptual art and the influential Turner Prize by Glasgow School of Art trained artists. These developments have underpinned Glasgow's growing reputation and pre-eminence on both the local, national and the International art stage.
Lowndes analysis is also critical of the stop-start public funding of the arts and suggests that many of the grassroots initiatives have been neglected as increasing public funding allocations are made into, what she terms, the 'AB demographic' arts, such as Ballet, Opera, Theatre and Classical Music. She also gives us an excellent insight into the role and history of the CCA, the Transmission Gallery, the Modern institute and the Tramway in cultivating the recent period of artistic success.
A useful tome if you seek to build a full picture of the recent time-phasing and influences on each aspect of the contemporary Scottish art offerings – both current mainstream and the relatively recent (underground) developments , which will no doubt, be absorbed into and embraced by the mainstream (overground) in the forthcoming years !




Es Baluard is the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Palma. The Museum is one of two significant art attractions in Majorca - the other being the Fundacio Pilar i Joan Miro (Cala Major), which houses the studio where the artist worked, together with a dedicated collection space.

Es Baluard was opened in 2003. The building and terraces are a work of art in themselves - the structure is set within the walls of Palma Old Town in the Baluard de Sant Pere, the site of an old fort set above the Passage Maritimo with an impressive view over the city and bay.

On this occasion, the museum show was 'Territory Miro' featuring the work of Joan Miro (probably Spain's most famous modern, surrealist artist), with the main focus being on his studies of Alfred Jarry (the French symbolist writer) who created the character Ubu Roi. The gallery also displays it's permanent collection, which presents the work of artists, including Miro, Pablo Picasso and (Palma trained) Miquel Barcelo with a particular focus on Spanish and Majorcan culture. 

Not the greatest collection, but nevertheless impressive (on a small scale) and well worth an hour or so of study to absorb the local, modern art influences.  

JULY 2014


Nice to see the Herald create a Scenes from the City feature, which gave some exposure to our 'A Celebration of Glasgow' show.

A short piece and commentary, but nevertheless a welcome feature for our carefully constructed show of 200 Glasgow themed paintings by many of Scotlands leading contemporary artists timed to coincide with the very successful 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

JULY 2014


As part of our 'A Celebration of Glasgow' art show, which was timed to coincide with the XX Commonwealth Games, Glasgow 2014, the gallery arranged a talk 'the Glasgow Story' by the painter, author and radio broadcaster Edward Chisnall, who is a renowned expert on the history of Glasgow.

Edward, who trained at GSA (the Glasgow School of Art) between 1960 and 1965, gave an interesting anecdote-packed account of the development of Glasgow to a full room of people.

His body of knowledge on Glasgow is remarkable and I am sure he could have talked for 24 hours on the subject, if he was allowed to.

JULY 2014


Invited to the opening of Gerard Burns Portrait Show 14 for 14. This was a massive charity undertaking for Burns. He had painted fourteen paintings of people who were important (inspirational) to him, including Alex Salmond, Sir Tom Hunter, Karen Dunbar, Ewan McGregor (the actor), Judy Murray, Ricky Ross (Deacon Blue) and Neil Lennon.

Each of his fourteen sitters had the opportunity to nominate a charity, which would receive the full proceeds for each of their portraits.

The reception featured interviews between broadcaster Janice Forsyth (BBC Radio Scotland) and Gerard, who was then joined by, (seperately) the First Minister, Karen Dunbar (hilarious), Ricky Ross, Judy Murray and Neil Lennon.

Congratulations to Burns for a magnificent and generous charitable initiative.

JULY 2014


The morning started with a bacon roll from Grace & Favour at Bearsden Cross and then the opportunity to join the large assembled crowd to watch Margarita Sweeney-Baird carry the XX Commonwealth Games, Glasgow 2014 Baton from the Bus Stop outside Bearsden Primary for her leg of the much-publicised Baton Relay.

Having completed her civic role, Margarita had kindly agreed to follow this by officially opening our Celebration of Glasgow Show.

Margarita (formerly a national ice-skating champion) is a remarkable character, who was selected to carry the Baton because of her inspirational work with Impaired or Inclusive Skating, where she has devoted years of her time to creating a scoring system that allows athletes with all forms of disability to compete, on a fair basis, in the same competition. From her work, she has created an international competition framework that brings inclusive athletes from around the world together to compete. This has enormous spin-off benefits (emotional and physical) for both the athletes and their families.

Margarita's aim is to introduce inclusive skating as a Paralympic Event and she is working on a programme to gain IOC acceptance.

Margarita is a non-practising Barrister. She is an LLB (Hons) Glasgow and an LLM (Harvard). She has worked extensively in the field of financial regulation and holds a number of academic and examining roles.

You can donate to Inclusive Skating by donating on her Just Giving page - https://www.justgiving.com/impaired-skating. Impaired Skating is a registered Charity -SC042584.

As a gallery, we would like to wish Margarita every success in her fundraising and to extend our thanks to her for kindly agreeing to open our Glasgow Show.

JULY 2014


Congratulations to Alison McWhirter for getting her submission 'Commonwealth Blooms and Tunnocks Teacakes' to our 'Celebration of Glasgow' Group Show, selected for the Front Cover image for the Art Mag. The Art Mag produces 33,000 copies, which are distributed to around 800 galleries and museums throughout Scotland and the North East of England.

The simplicity of Alison's slightly abstract, thick impasto technique is proving increasingly popular with art buyers and is gaining increasing recognition from art critics and commentators !

JULY 2014


This installation is symbolic of a significant turning point in modern art. In terms of art history, it is a seminal artwork, which will have influenced the auction price achieved for it. It was created in 1998 and led to Emin's nomination for the Turner Prize in the following year, 1999. It is a remarkable self-portrait reflecting a crisis period when a long-term relationship broke up and she took to her bed for a number of days.

By design, the installation proved extremely controversial as it included stained sheets, discarded condoms, blood stained underwear and empty bottles of alcohol. It's effect, however placed Emin at the centre of the, now globally influential and successful (YBA's), the Young British Artists, who dominate the market for modern conceptual art.

'My Bed' had been purchased in 2000 by the vendor, Charles Saatchi (the art collector) for a price of £150,000.