Glasgow Gears Up For Its First International Contemporary Art Festival

By David Prudames | 24 February 2005
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Shows an artwork depicting a skeletal figure dressed as a clown under the title My Giant Colouring Book.

Image from My Giant Colouring Book by The Chapman Brothers, which will form part of a show taking place as part of Glasgow International at Glasgow Print Studio. Images courtesy of Paragon Press.

Details of the programme for the inaugural Glasgow International art festival have been revealed at a launch in the city.

Glasgow’s first curated and commissioning festival of contemporary art, Glasgow International will take place across the city over 12 days from Thursday April 21 until Monday May 2 2005, with over 100 artists, contributors and venues taking part.

Festival organisers are working with Glasgow’s visual arts venues as well as outdoor sites, to deliver a world-class annual event, profiling Scottish and International talent.

"Glasgow’s international reputation in the contemporary art world is founded on the many achievements of artists based locally," said Glasgow International’s curator, Francis McKee, at the launch on February 24

Shows a photograph of the classical-style exterior of the Gallery of Modern Art in Glasgow.

The Gallery of Modern Art will play host to work by American artist Barbara Kruger during the festival.

"This new Festival of Contemporary Visual Art has been designed to showcase the high level of artistic activity that generates such attention and to bring this to a much broader public."

Head of Digital Arts and New Media at the Centre for Contemporary Art in Glasgow, Francis McKee teaches at Glasgow School of Art and was co-curator of the Scottish exhibition at the Venice Biennale in 2003. He explained how the programme is intended to reflect the wide range of artistic activity going on all the time in the city.

"The festival has no dominant theme," McKee added. "Instead, the various and diverse participants have been encouraged to highlight their own approaches to contemporary art, reflecting the kind of work that happens throughout the year, every year, in the city."

Growing out of Glasgow’s existing arts infrastructure, Glasgow International aims to both celebrate and support the continued growth and achievements of the city’s visual arts sector.

Shows an artwork depicting a small boy wearing a cap and holding something in his hand below a tree branch on which a bird is perching.

Image from My Giant Colouring Book by The Chapman Brothers, which will form part of a show taking place as part of Glasgow International at Glasgow Print Studio. Images courtesy of Paragon Press.

The programme is designed to reflect the position of Glasgow as a centre for the production and exhibition of internationally significant visual art. Much of the work on show will either have been specifically commissioned for the event or brought to the UK for the first time.

Yet, as well as highlighting a number of high profile artists based in the city, the festival will support grassroots activity, giving the many emerging artists Glasgow produces a chance to show their work.

It will also show off the range and quality of Glasgow’s exhibition spaces, both indoor formal spaces such as the Gallery of Modern Art and Hunterian Museum, and outdoor spaces.

Among the highlights already confirmed include the first ever European showing of, one of the world’s premier collections of contemporary art, Mexico’s Jumex Collection at Tramway. Newly commissioned work by Glasgow based and internationally renowned Smith/Stewart will be on show at 64 Osborne Street, while Neil Mulholland’s specially curated Campbell’s Soup exhibition will take place at Glasgow School of Art.

the setting of The Arches compliments the works beautifully.

As well as showing some of the artwork during the festival, The Arches will be hosting the opening party!

Other major shows will include an installation by American artist Barbara Kruger at the Gallery of Modern Art along with a specially commissioned billboard work by her at Glasgow’s Central Station.

Produced by UZ Events, the festival is funded by Glasgow City Council, EventScotland, Scottish Enterprise Glasgow and the Scottish Arts Council.

"Glasgow City Council has made a strong commitment to the growth and development of the visual arts in Glasgow," explained Liz Cameron, Lord Provost of Glasgow.

"Glasgow International is an exciting addition to the council’s already significant support of the visual arts sector and one which allows us to develop new artistic and funding partnerships and to celebrate Glasgow’s deserved reputation as a major international centre for the visual arts."

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