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

Enjoy!

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.

www.cookmuseumwhitby.co.uk

www.museum140.com

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

Hidden Treasures

May 4th, 2011

Salvador DaliOur man, The Chimney, has been out and about and has come across a couple of little treasures…. 

Those of you in the Glasgow area will know that Dali’s Christ of St John of the Cross has been rehung upstairs in Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum – it now has its own space and this is one painting exhibition that works very well.  In the new space you’ll find more detailed information about the work as well as additional information and a piece of film about Dali. Have a look at our previous blogs on this work and let me know what you think of the new space.

http://www.intermezzo-arts.co.uk/blog/?p=14

Many of you probably think that you’ve seen everything upstairs in Kelvingrove.  Well here is another treasure.  Just off the French Room are three paintings, again in their own space.  They are by Arthur Melville and, if you visited the Glasgow Boys exhibition, you will remember how wonderful his watercolours can be.

You don’t have to pick the best, you don’t have to nominate a second choice, you don’t even have to list them in order of preference.  You just go along and enjoy them.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Pissarro’s Chimney – May 2011

French Drawings – Poussin to Seurat – Edinburgh

April 18th, 2011

We at Intermezzo have decided to introduce an occasional blog which will cover exhibitions and assorted arts matters presented with integrity and independence, was well as clarity, insight and good English.  We will send our own incognito and opinionated man, who will report without too much pretension, and who will be pleased to receive your comments.

My first foray into the Exhibition world for the readers of the Intermezzo blog ….

French Drawings – Poussin to Seraut

National Gallery Complex Edinburgh (admission free- showing until 1 May 2011)

In three rooms on the Upper Level South of the Gallery, this consists of a selection of the hundreds of French drawings the gallery has assembled to complement its French paintings.  As well as the headliners, artists include Boucher, Ingres and Corot.   Despite the large number of visitors and the occasional tutorial in front of the works, this is a fine intimate show. 

If you haven’t seen it before, Etiennne Jeraut’s Family in an Interior is well worth the effort of negotiating the still ongoing tram works on Princes Street.

Sometimes drawings relate to paintings in the collection.  For example, Pissarro is represented with a charcoal work entitled “Figures at the Banks of the Marne near Chennevieres”   If you then stand back from this you can see into another room, where directly opposite you, is his large painting “The Marne at Chennevieres”.   A finished drawing and a preparatory sketch.

Seraut’s work is wholly self evident – always something to do with bathing!  Poussin’s life cycle “A Dance to the Music of Time” is a pen, ink and wash on paper – so good you can buy the postcard…

There is a mixture of finished drawings and sketches, so you might not be moved by much but my goodness you will, dear reader, marvel at the artistic skill on display and revel in the wonderful draughtsmanship.  Enjoy.

For more information on this Exhibition click here

Pissarro’s Chimney – April 2011

Gallery of Modern Art #museumfact

December 6th, 2010
Gallery of Modern Art Glasgow

Gallery of Modern Art - Glasgow

The Gallery of Modern Art in Glasgow is housed in a neo-classical building in Royal Exchange Square in Glasgow.  It was built in 1778 as the town house of William Cunninghame, a wealthy Glasgow tobacco baron, and went on to be used as a bank, a business exchange, a telephone exchange and a library before being transformed in 1996 into a gallery housing the City’s contemporary art collection.

 Many famous people signed the visitors’ book in this building including

Robert Peel – who gave his famous address in a marquee outside the building, built to house a dinner to honour him after he was installed as Rector of the University of Glasgow in 1837.

Napoleon III of France – who visited the City in 1839 for the Eglinton tournament.  This was a re-enactment of a medieval joust held in Kilwinning in Ayrshire.

Josiah Henson – an author, abolitionist and Methodist minister.  He was born into slavery in America but escaped and founded a settlement for fugitive slaves in Canada.  He inspired the title character of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin.  He spoke at the City Halls and Kibble Palace in Glasgow to huge crowds.

If anyone knows of other famous visitors to this magnificent building please let us know.

Intermezzo provide guided tours and private viewings of Glasgow Museums and work with Museums, Galleries and Heritage Properties to increase revenue streams.  For more information contact us on 0141 636 6929 or email us at info@intermezzo-arts.co.uk