Scots artists set for biggest ever art show

Work by more than 100 of Scotland’s leading visual artists will go on show in 60 different locations across the country when the nation’s biggest ever art show is staged next year.
'Love Cannon', by Zoe Walker and Neil Bromwich. Picture: Complimentary'Love Cannon', by Zoe Walker and Neil Bromwich. Picture: Complimentary
'Love Cannon', by Zoe Walker and Neil Bromwich. Picture: Complimentary

Turner Prize winners and nominees including Douglas Gordon, Martin Boyce, Richard Wright, Simon Starling, Karla Black, Jim Lambie and Nathan Coley, as well as David Shrigley, who is in the running for the honour this year, will all be showing work.

The nine-month programme of exhibitions, all of which will be free to see, will showcase celebrated work by Scottish artists over the past 25 years, in what has been described as one of the most ambitious art projects anywhere in the world.

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The £2 million show, more than two years in the planning, has been dubbed “Generation”, to mark the contemporary art scene’s explosion in Scotland over the past quarter-century.

'Love Cannon', by Zoe Walker and Neil Bromwich. Picture: Complimentary'Love Cannon', by Zoe Walker and Neil Bromwich. Picture: Complimentary
'Love Cannon', by Zoe Walker and Neil Bromwich. Picture: Complimentary

It has been instigated to coincide with Glasgow’s hosting of the Commonwealth Games and a string of spaces across the city will be used to exhibit works.

Katrina Brown, associate curator of Generation, said: “The focus for us has really been on artists who have come to attention while living and working in Scotland over the last 25 years and on the significant bodies of work that have been developed here in that time.

“A lot of places we are using simply didn’t exist 25 years ago as venues. That in itself is a reflection of what has happened with the infrastructure and reach of contemporary art.

“It’s not just about Glasgow and Edinburgh; this is about the whole country and this is really just a first glimpse at the programme. We are still working hard on lots of projects to be confirmed early next year.”

The exhibition is still in development, with the final line-up not due to be announced until March, when the first shows open.

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The National Galleries of Scotland has joined forces with Glasgow Life, the body that runs the city’s main art galleries, to stage Generation, with the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Scottish National Gallery and Royal Scottish Academy in Edinburgh all hosting shows.

Exhibitions will be staged in other towns and cities, including more remote parts of the country like Orkney, Shetland, Skye, Bute, Thurso and Banff.

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The project will feature everything from painting, sculpture, photography and printing to installations and performance art. It will be one of the signature projects of the official Glasgow 2014 cultural programme.

Key works of the past 25 years – some of which have never been on display in Scotland before – will be revived for Generation, while others pieces have been commissioned specially.

Highlights include a collection of Douglas Gordon’s film and video work, including his famous 24 Hour Psycho; a revival of Nathan Coley’s celebrated scale model of all the places of worship in the Edinburgh; a major touring exhibition of work by Toby Paterson, and the first showing in Edinburgh of Martin Boyce’s show from the Tramway in Glasgow in 2002.

Sir John Leighton, director-general of the National Galleries of Scotland, said: “There is an amazing story to tell about art in Scotland over the past 25 years and we believe we have found a very compelling way to tell it, with what surely must be one of the most ambitious programmes of exhibitions ever mounted by a single country.

“With over 60 free shows across the entire country, this is a massive opportunity for both residents and visitors to experience world-class contemporary art from Scotland.”

Archie Graham, who chairs Glasgow Life, said: “This is a ground breaking partnership, which will allow us to share our outstanding collections, resources and knowledge. It presents a unique opportunity to galvanise a new audience for the artists and artworks that have propelled both Glasgow and Scotland’s contemporary art on to a global stage.”

Some of the highlights

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GALLERY OF MODERN ART, GLASGOW: Douglas Gordon & Nathan Coley


PIER ARTS CENTRE, ORKNEY: Zoe Walker & Neil Bromwich




AN TOBAR, MULL: Ilana Halperin