Elvis in White

February 22nd, 2015

Niall Macdonald was born in the Outer Hebrides and graduated from the Glasgow School of Art.  He now lives and works in Glasgow and his latest exhibition, Elvis Nipple Plinth, is a solo exhibition at the Kendall Koppe Gallery.
We visited on Saturday and really liked the work, which yet again I’d discovered on social media (Twitter to be precise).  It’s not a very big exhibition, the Gallery space is only small, but you spend a lot of time trying to work out the links between each of the objects.  Apart from one piece, which sits on the far wall, there are two objects on each plinth, all created in white, and one object sits on top of the plinth and one on the front of the plinth.  E-Book Skull Plinth has a very small skull sitting on the plinth and an e-book reader on one side of the column.  We couldn’t decide if the skull represented the death of the book and the rise of the digital format, or if it was the artist’s thoughts about the impact of digital books.  By placing the objects out of context the artist manages to change their meaning and Niall is particularly interested in the concept of ‘must have’ objects, in particular technology.
The Elvis Nipple Plinth, the title of the show, has a bust of Elvis on the top with a teat, or nipple, attached to the plinth.  Make of these juxtapositions what you will but you will have fun doing it and come up with some interesting ideas.  The artist himself describes his Exhibition as more Space Odyssey than Elgin Marbles and the stark whiteness of the objects, plinth and gallery appear influenced by the Kubrick film which conicidentally was shown on BBC2 this weekend.
The Kendall Koppe Gallery is at 6 Dixon Street, just off St Enoch Square, so it’s very central and is open Wednesday to Saturday from 11.00am to 5.00pm.  Press the buzzer for the Gallery to gain entry and it’s on the first floor. You won’t be disappointed…

Bowes Museum

February 16th, 2015
Bowes Museum

Bowes Museum

I visited this Museum in Barnard Castle in County Durham for the first time this weekend after discovering it through social media.  What a unique and fantastic venue.  The building stands out in the market town of County Durham as it is built in the style of a French Chateau!  Helpful staff show you how to access the building and we started with a background to the Museum and its creators.  Appropriate for Valentine’s weekend, this is a story of the love of a couple and their combined love of the arts and collecting.  The Museum was built by them with the intention of housing their collection for the public to visit.  A very philanthropic project.


The art within the building is outstanding and some of my favourites included El Greco’s The Tears of St Peter; a classic blustery Boudin called Beach Scene at Low Tide; the portrait of Olive Boteler Porter which was recently discovered to be a genuine van Dyck panting; and a small atmospheric Goya titled Interior of a Prison.  The breadth of work is impressive, collected during John and Josephine’s time in Paris, and you gain a real understanding of the way in which  French art evolved to become to be a dominant force.  Although many of the art works are hung very high on the walls of the galleries, there are labels with images for each painting which means you don’t miss a thing.  As well as art there are galleries housing silver and metals, archaeological objects, toys, ceramics, furniture and textiles.  I really liked the recreations of the rooms as dining rooms, bedrooms and sitting rooms with the most fantastic items of French furniture.  Their fashion and textile collections are world renowned which his why you will find so many fashion exhibitions are held there.  Having supported their crowd funding project to restore their fifteenth century altarpiece I can now keep up to date with its progress on their blog.


As well as the main gallery spaces there are several temporary exhibition spaces.  These currently include the Birds of Paradise: Plumes and Feathers in Fashion exhibition which showcases breath-taking haute couture gowns including an amazing outfit by Thierry Mugler which greets you as you enter.  Another exhibition was Confected, Borrowed and Blue where artist Paul Scott has decorated familiar crockery and dinner ware with contemporary stories which include the Cockle Pickers Tea Service alongside plates with images of Gaza. You will also see work by Julian Opie scattered around the building including a walking woman who doesn’t seem to get very far and his cheeky version of the Manneken Pis as you enter! It is well worth the entry fee as you can spend the whole day here, stopping for lunch or afternoon tea in the café.  With an Yves Saint Laurent exhibition arriving in July this Museum is a must for fashionistas as well as art and museum lovers.  I definitely intend to return soon.

Paisley Museum & Art Galleries – What Presence!

January 24th, 2015
Selected images from Harry Papadopoulos

Rock Photography

What Presence! is a rock photography exhibition of work by the photographer Harry Papadopoulos and curated and produced by Street Level Photoworks and Ken McCluskey, of Scottish band The Bluebells.  If you lived, loved and bought music in the late 1970s and early 1980s you’ll love this exhibition.  It contains traditional black and white images of rock bands on stage including the Clash as well as informal shots of many Scottish bands in and around Glasgow comprising Orange Juice, Josef K, Aztec Camera, The Associates, The Skids, Simple Minds, Altered Images plus many more.  You knew that there were a lot of a Scottish bands around at that time but this exhibition really brings home what a golden era for Scottish music this was as well as record labels and magazines. Poignant images of Billy Mackenzie of the Associates sit alongside early images of Jim Kerr of Simple Minds and we spent the whole time saying “Wow – remember that band?”   The only drawback to this exhibition is the lack of a soundtrack.  Not cheap to get licences for music these days however it would benefit greatly from a soundtrack.  It’s a rock photography exhibition but people were walking around quietly and talking in hushed tones.  We played a bit a music as we walked around and visitors loved it…. That said, it’s a great trip down memory lane and brings out a sense of nostalgia for those 80s days.  It isn’t entirely devoted to Scottish bands and you’ll also find images of David Bowie, The Specials, The Birthday Party, Bauhaus and Cabaret Voltaire among many more.  Street Level hope that this touring exhibition will bring increased exposure for the work of Harry Papadopoulos who, having worked for the Sounds music newspaper as well as Marvel Comics, suffered a brain aneurysm in 2002 and now lives back in Scotland.

If you’re in Glasgow, Paisley is only 10 minutes away by train so pop down to this FREE exhibition and indulge in some good old fashioned nostalgia for those heady pop days – just bring your own soundtrack and headphones!


Niki de Saint Phalle Exhibition – Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow

November 29th, 2012

Niki de Saint Phalle has a long association with the Gallery of Modern Art in Glasgow.  When the Gallery was being converted she created the mirrored mosaic on the outside of the building which depicts the St Mungo legend, including the fish, the tree, the bell and the ring, which you can see on the triangular pediment of the building.  She also created the mirrored entrance hall.  Following an exhibition of her work at the McLellan Galleries she gave two sculptures to Glasgow – these were The Great Devil and the Altar to a Dead Cat.

This exhibition is based around a generous donation by Eric and Jean Cass.  They have collected contemporary art for over 30 years and were looking to distribute that art to museums and galleries around the UK.  Knowing Glasgow’s association with Niki de Saint Phalle they offered some of her work  to Glasgow to form part of the permanent collection.  This exhibition includes these new works as well as her original gifted sculptures, which were on view for many years when the Gallery of Modern Art first opened.

Niki de Saint Phalle

Reproduced courtesy of Glasgow Museums

It’s a fabulous exhibition – very accessible with bright colours and beautiful pieces which you could imagine owning.  There are some dark background stories to some of her more colourful pieces but her only truly dark piece on show is the Altar to a Dead Cat.  Many of the pieces come from her imagination and dreams.  There is a little brightly coloured frog (grenouille in French) which is a lovely thing to look at but if you look closely you can see that he has doesn’t look very happy.


The Great Devil (1985) is a massive sculpture which used to stand in the entrance to the Gallery.  This was one of the artist’s gifts to the City and she said that she was often scared whilst creating this piece.  You can see how she was influenced by Gaudi’s work in Barcelona.

Niki de Saint Phalle

Reproduced courtesy of Glasgow Museums

The Altar to a Dead Cat (1962) was created out of all the things which had happened to in her life including her strict Catholic upbringing and abuse by her father.  She would shoot at the object which caused the paint cans attached to the piece to explode.  There are two accompanying films which show how it was created and how the conservation team today prevent any deterioration.

There are also practical pieces including a plant holder and a side table, which Eric and Jean used within their home. 

 If you are visiting the Pompidou Centre in Paris you will see Niki de Saint Phalle’s work in a fountain which sits next to this Gallery which comprises of sculptures representing the work of the composter Igor Stravinsky.

Allocate an hour for this exhibition to take in all the films and background information for this beautiful and enigmatic artist.

Exhibition on until 16 November 2013 at The Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow

Intermezzo provide art and artist research for short term exhibition projects. For more information contact us on 0141 636 6929 or email us at info@intermezzo-arts.co.uk


Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art 2012

May 2nd, 2012

Here’s my write-up of an afternoon spent at the GI Festival in Glasgow – a celebration of visual and contemporary art in the City.  We started off at the Gi Hub on Miller Street to see Rosalind Nashashibi’s film of Scottish Ballet rehearsals.  It’s a lovely piece that lets you eavesdrop on the locals who are in to see rehearsals, including an older lady who comments on how young and supple the dancers are!  It also lets you hear how arduous the dancers find the rehearsals, there’s a lot of heavy breathing, and it finishes with two policemen whose blank expression makes it hard to work out exactly what they think of the dancers.

We then headed off to Trongate 103.  In the Glasgow Print Studio we saw Adrian Wiszniewski’s work which consisted of large canvases.  As part of the group known as the New Glasgow Boys he helped bring Glasgow to the attention of the national and international art world and I remember seeing his work in the Gallery of Modern Art when it first opened.  We particularly liked the very small coloured sketches made on gesso – they were delicate and beautiful.  If only we had the money to purchase ….

Also in Trongate 103 we visited Street Level Photoworks where we saw Marjolaine Ryley’s photographic project.  This is a really interesting exhibition and the photography is supplemented by beautifully written thoughts on her early life.  As a child she lived in a commune in the South of France and a squat in London and all of this is covered in this exhibition.

Image from the BBC website

Sacrilege at GiFestival

We then headed off to Glasgow Green which looked fantastic on this sunny day in Glasgow.   There were groups of young people playing cricket and football and a large crowd for Jeremy Deller’s Sacrilege.  This is an interactive artwork which is an inflatable made to resemble Stonehenge.  Deller is a previous Turner Prize winner who has exhibited at the Gallery of Modern Art in Glasgow and this work will head off to London for the 2012 Games later in the year.  It was packed full of school children (and many adults too!) bouncing around and having a lot of fun.  We decided just to take photographs … it all looked too energetic for us and just a little bit too crowded!!  This public artwork definitely puts a smile on your face.

We walked from Glasgow Green down to The Briggait where we saw One Person’s Materialism is Another Person’s Romanticism.  This is a fantastic space and the 1873 Hall renovation is impressive.  We sat on a very low red plastic sofa to view the video piece Venice by Anthea Hamilton.  You must see the Yogic John Travolta – inspired!  Do not sit on the red sofa if you are over 30 though … I had immense trouble getting off the thing … I had to slide onto the floor and then use my knees to stand up.  Not very graceful.  I also liked Anthea Hamilton’s costume, which greets you as you enter, called Pasta and Noodles – very 1980s!

From The Briggait we walked along to the Gallery of Modern Art to see Karla Black’s sculpture made entirely of sawdust.  It’s a fantastic piece, very impressive, with cellophane sculptures hanging across.  It fills the entire hall of Gallery 1 and looks good enough to eat – we thought it looked like a large Tiramasau.

Finally we headed down to Dixon Street.  First we called in at the Mary Mary Gallery to see Lorna Macintyre’s Midnight Scenes and Other Works which have a very distinct diamond motif throughout and are very thoughtful pieces.  We finished at the Kendall Koppe Gallery and Emory Douglas’s work with the Black Panthers.  Douglas is an American artist and activist who provided many of the images which those of us who lived in the 60s and 70s will remember.  The messges are very strong but I really liked the mix of the political with the art and this exhibition in particular has stayed with me.

If you are new to contemporary art I would recommend Emory Douglas at the Kendall Koppe Gallery, Jeremy Deller’s Sacrilege in Glasgow Green and Adrian Wiszniewski at the Glasgow Print Studio to start you off.  They are all great in their own way and offer a window into the contemporary art world.

For more information on the GI Festival go to www.glasgowinternational.org


Lord Sandwich

April 10th, 2012

John Mantagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich (1718-1792)  The 4th Earl of Sandwich waLord Sandwich by Thomas Gainsboroughs a man of ambition who combined a political career with a life-long interest in the Navy and all things maritime.  First Lord of the Admiralty on three occasions, reformer of naval dockyards and supporter of voyages of discovery,  Lord Sandwich was friend and patron of Captain James Cook.

Having completed his education and the customary Grand Tour of Europe, Sandwich took his seat in the House of Lords in 1744, joining the Board of Admiralty in 1744.  Becoming First Lord of the Admiralty in 1748, he worked closely with Admiral George Anson to tackle the state of the naval dockyards.  Sandwich was the first head of the Admiralty to actually visit the dockyards in nearly a century.

Losing his office in 1751 due to shifting political alliances, Sandwich was reinstated in 1771 and remained until 1782.  He was in office when Cook returned from his first voyage aboard the Endeavour (1769-72).  Impressed by Cook’s achievements, the 4th Earl was one of the few people to recognise Cook as the true leader of the expedition, rather than the publicity-hungry botanist Joseph Banks.  Sandwich backed Cook’s proposal of embarking on a second voyage – this time to seek out the Great Southern Continent.   Cook always acknowledged his debt to the Earl, asserting that without Sandwich’s action and support, the second voyage would never have taken place.

When Cook returned from his second voyage, Sandwich saw that he was justly rewarded by promoting him to the rank of Captain.  He then spent considerable time overseeing the publication of the official accounts of Cook’s voyages.  A man of huge charm, Sandwich was happy mixing with the company of all sorts of men, and was particularly willing to promote men of humble origin or obscure background, to back their professional expertise against better-born but not technically expert superiors.

Nevertheless, the 4th Earl has sometimes been represented as a man of colourful reputation,  described as a rake and gambler by Victorian historians.  Whilst Sandwich certainly gambled, this was unavoidable in polite society at the time, and the Earl appears to have been restrained in the sums he bet.  The Earl’s fondness for gambling has given rise to an interesting creation story for the infamous household snack which shares his name.  The Earl apparently invented the ‘sandwich’ due to his reluctance to quit the gambling table for dinner!  Whilst there is no evidence to prove this,  the common sandwich is certainly named after the 4th Earl,  who most likely ate slices of cold salt-beef between toasted bread at his writing-desk whilst spending long hours on correspondence!

This portrait of Lord Sandwich, painted by Thomas Gainsborough, can be viewed at the Captain Cook Memorial Museum, Grape Lane, Whitby.  For this year’s commemoration of the 4th Earl why not knit  a sandwich and enter the Captain Cook Museum competition.  Details and knitting patterns can be found on their blog

5 Easy Steps to Provide Sponsorship for Projects and Exhibitions

March 28th, 2012
Sponsorship and Fundraising

Sponsorship and Fundraising Event - Intermezzo

 1 Target Companies

Use social media, newspapers, art magazines and exhibitions to make a list of companies who are already supporting the arts.  Once you have the list look at networking groups and business groups who can help to introduce you to these companies.

 2 Networking

Find free networking groups in your local area.  The local chamber of commerce is usually able to help.  Look for opportunities to speak about your venues at their events and invite them in for a tour.

 3 Trusts and Foundations

Set up a spreadsheet of trusts and foundations who support the arts with the emphasis on criteria.  This makes it easier to locate possible supporters for specific projects.

 4 LinkedIn

Sign up for LinkedIn and follow those companies who are of interest to you.  Make connections with people you already know and then ask for introductions to potential sponsors where you have a link.

 5 Trustees

If you don’t already have a board of Trustees, then set one up.  Make sure some of your trustees are local business people who can help to introduce you to potential sponsors.  If you already have a Board, then invite them to a meeting about your project and exhibition and ask for their help.

 More top tips to follow ….

Intermezzo offer support in raising sponsorship and funds for one-off projects and exhibitions.  For more information call us on 0141 636 6929 or email us at info@intermezzo-arts.co.uk

Captain Cook Artefacts

September 12th, 2011
Grape Lane entrance, Whitby

Captain Cook Memorial Museum

Ever wonder where a museum, in particular a small museum, gets its collection and how it continues to expand? Often pieces are given on loan, especially when larger Museums have no room to display them.  The Captain Cook Memorial Museum in Whitby was able to show a collection of pre-contact artects from the Pacific via an unusual route.

Joseph Banks, the Botanist who sailed with Cook, brought back these early pieces on The Endeavour and gave them to his old College, Christ Church, which kept them in a cellar for over 100 years before they finally pased them to the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford.  They then kept them for another 100 years in their cellar.  They were finally identified by Pitt Rivers staff recently but unfortunately they had no room to display them.   The Captain Cook Museum thus took the opportunity to offer to display them in Whitby.

Many museums around the country loan parts of their collection to venues where they will stand out rather than being held in store.

For more information visit the Captain Cook Memorial Museum website at www.cookmuseumwhitby.co.uk


Peace at Last! by Kate Davis

July 12th, 2011
A response by Kate Davis to Glasgow Museums' Collection

A response by Kate Davis to Glasgow Museums' Collection

I have just been to the preview of Kate Davis’ new exhibition at the Gallery of Modern Art in Glasgow.   It was created specially for GoMA by Kate and is her personal response to Glasgow Museums’ collection.

It’s an interesting exhibition with a mix of Kate’s own work alongside work by Goya, Jo Spence and Terry Dennett among others and has a particular emphasis on feminist art and the women’s suffrage movement. 

I particularly liked the the pamphlet, given extra gravitas by its storage in a glass case, which has a transcript of a speech by Christabel Pankhurst in 1908 outlining the need for a militant approach to securing the women’s right to vote.  The cover of the pamphlet shows a portrait of Christabel which at some time had been defaced and her features almost entirely eradicated and Kate has reproduced the cover of the pamphlet in an enlarged form which heightens the impact of the damage.  She has then reclaimed Pankhurst’s face by drawing in the detail which is missing.  It really makes you stop to think.  There is also a postcard from the early 20th century, called Peace at last!, which has a caricature of a woman’s head with her tongue nailed to a table .. a quite shocking image in 2011.   By the time you reach the Pankhurst pamphlet at the far end of the exhibition you began to understand the need for militant action.

The Goya prints are strange and beautiful and it’s fantastic to have an opportunity to see them close up.  As Goya didn’t leave much information about these prints, there is little knowledge about their intended titles or the sequences in which they should be viewed, and Kate’s interpretation of them, and their role in representing the past, really brings them to life.

There are also video works, which I will go back to the exhibition to take some time to listen to, and the very emotional and moving photographs of Jo Spence taken by Terry Dennet and an intepretation of some of Jo Spence’s photography by Kate in which she considers how the artist addressed the question of who owned the images, especially images of the body.

A very thought provoking exhibition and one which I hope to return to many times during its run.

Peace at last! runs from 13 July to 16 October in the Gallery of Modern Art in Glasgow

Intermezzo offer private evening tours of exhibitions for corporate, luxury travel and conference groups.  For more information contact us on 0141 636 6929 or email us at info@intermezzo-arts.co.uk

Captain Cook Museum

July 11th, 2011
Image courtesy of Captain Cook Memorial Museum

Image Courtesy of Captain Cook Memorial Museum

Intermezzo are very pleased to be taking part in the Adopt A Museum project in conjunction with Museum140.  Our chosen Museum is the Captain Cook Memorial Museum in Whitby in Yorkshire.  The Museum was opened in 1987 and houses a fantastic collection associated with Cook including original letters, paintings, maps, and Pacific artefacts

The Museum is in Grape Lane, Whitby, in the 17th century Grade I listed house owned by the ship owners Captains Henry and John Walker, to which Cook came as a young man to be apprenticed to the younger brother, John, in 1746.

Cook’s success with a varied diet meant he did not lose a single man to scurvy on all his voyages, contrasting with disastrous losses on earlier sea journeys.

The Museum was the winner of Welcome to Yorkshire’s White Rose Award in 2005 and a finalist again in 2008 and is accredited under the UK’s Museums, Libraries and Archives accreditation scheme.

We look forward to providing many more tales from the Museum and would encourage you to a visit a fascinating Museum telling the story of an influential man in British history.



To talk about the Adopt A Museum project on Twitter use the hash tag #adoptamuseum