Scotland set for Generation visual arts celebration

A BLOCKBUSTER celebration of the visual arts – the biggest ever in Scotland – will be staged in more than 50 venues across the country to coincide with the staging of the Commonwealth Games next year.

An example Scotland's thriving contemporary art scene which may appear in the summer extravaganza. Picture. Contributed

The nation’s booming arts scene over the last quarter-century will be showcased in five major exhibitions in Edinburgh and Glasgow, as well as dozens of other smaller venues.

The National Galleries of Scotland is joining forces with Glasgow Life, the body responsible for the city’s vast art collection, for a free “landmark exhibition” charting the evolution of Scottish art and cutting-edge artists since 1989.

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Major exhibitions will be held at the Scottish National Gallery, the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, the modern art galleries in each city and the Tramway arts centre in Glasgow as part of “Generation”, which is expected to feature the work of more than 100 artists, including all of Scotland’s Turner Prize winners and nominees.

Billed as one of the world’s biggest ever celebrations of contemporary art, Generation is expected to feature major showcases for Turner Prize winners Martin Boyce, Richard Wright, Douglas Gordon, Simon Starling, Martin Creed and Susan Philipsz, as well as David Shrigley, who is in the running for the honour this year.

Generation will also include a host of specially-commissioned new work and exhibitions created for next year’s Edinburgh Art Festival. However, the full line-up of selected artists, and where their work is going on display, will not be revealed until later this year.

Organisers say the exhibition, which will be launched in June, just before the start of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, and run until October, is aimed at opening up public access to contemporary art as well as raising Scotland’s profile as a world-class hub for emerging artists.

Simon Groom, director of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh, said: “Generation really is unparalleled in scope and exhibition and that’s why it has taken so long to pull together. It has never been attempted, we think, anywhere else by a single nation.

“It looks at 25 years of contemporary art in Scotland, up until now, and those artists who have been working, were born, were raised or made their profession and came to prominence in Scotland.”

Final costs of the project have not been revealed although it is thought the final contributions from NGS and Glasgow Life could match the £750,000 being contributed by Creative Scotland.

It is expected to be a major component of a nationwide cultural programme being planned to complement the sporting extravaganza.

Creative Scotland has set aside more than £4 million to fund projects.

Archie Graham, chair of Glasgow Life, said: “This is a unique partnership which will bring together, for the first time, the unique talents and works which have propelled both Glasgow and Scotland’s contemporary art onto a global stage.

Scottish culture secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “Generation will celebrate Scotland’s visual art and artists and promote our rich culture and cutting-edge creativity to audiences at home and from around the world.”