Category Archives: Catalogue

Ten Years in an Open Necked Shirt


Ten Years in an Open Necked Shirt (p111-119) is my contribution to:

GENERATION: 25 Years of Contemporary Art in Scotland Guide and Reader

Edited by Moira Jeffrey

National Galleries of Scotland and Glasgow Life

Over the last twenty-five years Scotland has had a growing reputation as an international centre of artistic innovation and experiment for the visual arts. These books accompanyGENERATION: 25 Years of Contemporary Art, a major nationwide exhibition programme showcasing some of the best and most significant art to have emerged from Scotland over the last twenty-five years.

The GENERATION Guide provides a fully illustrated guide to the programme with entries on the work of more than eighty artists being exhibited in over sixty venues throughout Scotland and information about group exhibitions and other projects. It forms the first comprehensive overview of the art of the period. It includes Turner prize winners Douglas Gordon, Simon Starling and Martin Boyce and 2014 nominees Duncan Campbell and Ciara Phillips.

The GENERATION Reader, edited by writer Moira Jeffrey, provides the first collection of key documents from the period including essays, critical writing and artists’ own texts, and offers a guide to the ideas, events and debates that shaped a generation. In it, a selection of archive texts from the period sit alongside newly-commissioned writing which includes an introduction by novelist Louise Welsh and specially commissioned essays by Juliana Engberg, Nicola White, Dr Sarah Lowndes, Professor Andrew Patrizio, Professor Francis McKee  and Jenny Richards.

GENERATION Guide and Reader books come in slipcase.

 Extent 240pp/128pp. Paperback. 95 colour illustrations, guide and reader in slipcase.


This Is Not A Book About Gavin Turk

This is not a book about Gavin Turk

Inspired by the art of Gavin Turk and the ideas in culture his work explores, This Is Not A Book About Gavin Turk is a collection of essays that reflect on big philosophical questions relating to art & life by way of small forensic details relating to apple cores, union jacks, Che Guevara t-shirts, doors and more commissioned at the request of the artist.
This Is Not A Book About Gavin Turk features thought-provoking and playful reflections on everything from advertising to Ariadne, chewing gum to celebrity, eggs to endgames and Sid Vicious to signatures written by an illustrious collection of art critics, novelists, cultural commentators, artists and psychoanalysts. Some of these essays refer directly to Turk’s work; many do not.

Contributors to This Is Not A Book About Gavin Turk include Damien Hirst, Hardy Blechman, Sebastian Horsley, Jon Savage, Fiona Banner, Bob& Roberta Smith, Matthew Collings, Neil Mulholland, Darian Leader, Hari Kunzru, James Flint, Mark Stephens, Jessica Voorsanger, Richard Strange, Josie Barnard and many more. It will be published by Trolley in Spring 2014.

Mother Tongue: The White Aesthetic Necessitated by the ‘Glasgow Miracle’

The White Aesthetic Necessitated by the ‘Glasgow Miracle’

Publication accompanying the exhibition: “Two Invisible Case Studies” | Malmö Konsthall | Maud Sulter & Oladele Ajiboye Bamgboye | presented as part of 24 Spaces: A Cacophony | 29 July – 7 August 2013. Curated by Mother Tongue

The following is a copy of which sets the publication and exhibition in context:

“Two Invisible Case Studies Pt I Part of ‘What We Have Done, What We Are About To Do’ CCA Glasgow Preview 17th August, Exhibition Open 18th August – 15th September 2012

‘What We Have Done, What We Are About To Do’ was an exhibition curated by Dr Francis Mckee, revealing over 140 films documenting the activity of the CCA Glasgow#s predecessor, the Third Eye Centre, in the 1970s. The footage covers the early existence of the organisation in Blythswood Square, the construction of a gallery space and café in 350 Sauchiehall St and the appearance of many famous artists, bands and performers. In the spirit of the age, the films also chart Glasgow itself, audiences and activities in the art centre, and key figures such as Jimmy Boyle, Allen Ginsberg, Morton Feldman, John Byrne, Michael Craig-Martin, Madelaine Taylor, Keith Tippett and Tom McGrath. This exhibition was part of a wider AHRC project between Glasgow School of Art and the CCA Glasgow seeking to attend to alternative art histories of the local arts community, titled ‘The Glasgow Miracle: Materials for Alternative Histories.’ An essay on this wider project written by Francis Mckee can be found here.

To accompany this exhibition, Rebecca Wilcox and Oliver Pitt of Prawn’s Pee were invited to curate a series of responses to the exhibitions’ premise, from artists, musicians, curators and designers. Responding to the idea of archives and the process of archiving, those invited – including Mother Tongue – delved into the past histories of both the Third Eye Centre and CCA to query the relevance of these traces and to create something new from the fragments that remain.

Mother Tongue’s response to the Third Eye Centre/CCA-Glasgow archive took the form of a re-presentation of exhibition material and artworks from Maud Sulter and Oladélé Ajiboyé Bamgboyé, existing in the archive via the exhibitions Alba [1995] and Through Photography [1989], respectively. While both were active artists in Glasgow in the late1980’s and early 1990’s, they are notably absent from the grand ‘Glasgow Miracle’ narrative, detached from their contemporaries, an issue about which both Sulter and Bamgboyé were vocal.

Our re-presentation here of their work from the archive is intended to highlight not only their omission from the Glasgow Miracle, but to speculate on the relationship between this omission and the whiteness of the known narratives surrounding art histories of Glasgow, and more broadly, Scotland. These explorations culminated in an essay, released mid-way through the exhibition, and made freely available in the gallery space. The following year, other Tongue returned to ‘Two Invisible Case Studies,’ to further develop the project and to create an expanded version of the essay. The 2013 version of this can be found as a .pdf below.

Maud Sulter [1960-2008] Born in Glasgow of Scots and Ghanaian descent, Maud Sulter was a writer, playwright, cultural historian and artist, working with installation, photography and video. She attained a Masters degree in Photographic Theory, and came to prominence through her programming of Check It at the Drill Hall, London and inclusion in the exhibition The Thin Black Line, curated by Lubaina Himid at the ICA, 1986. Her work was subsequently included in exhibitions including: Victoria and Albert Museum in 1987; the Johannesburg Biennial (1996); and the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in 2003. Between 1992 and 1994, she was the Principal Lecturer in Fine Art at the Manchester Metropolitan University, and later directed and founded the gallery Rich Women of Zurich, London, which promoted cultural diversity and mid-career artists.

Sulter was awarded the British Telecom New Contemporaries Award 1990 and the Momart Fellowship at the Tate Gallery Liverpool in 1990, alongside acknowledgements of her writing including the Vera Bell Prize for Poetry (awarded for As A Blackwoman). Sulter’s work is held in the collections of the V&A London, Arts Council Collection, the British Council, the Scottish Arts Council and the Scottish Parliament Collection, amongst others.

Oladélé Ajiboyé Bamgboyé [b. 1963] Born in Odo-Eku, Nigeria, Oladélé Bamgboyé’s family emigrated to Glasgow in 1975, where he completed a degree in Chemical Engineering in 1985. In the late 1980’s, Bamgboyé began to produce photographs, establishing his practice through documentation photography for a number of galleries and institutions in Glasgow, including Transmission Gallery and Variant Magazine. A founding member of Street Level Gallery, early exhibitions of his work at the Third Eye Centre and Transmission led to Bamgboyé being awarded a summer studio residency at the Banff Centre Canada and the Richard Hough Prize for Photography in 1992. Bamgboyé re-located to Berlin, then London, undertaking an M.A in Media Fine Art Theory and Practice at Slade College of Fine Art.

International exhibitions of Bamgboyé’s work include the Johannesburg Biennial, “Cross/ing: Time-Space-Movement” [1996]; Documenta X [1997]; The Short Century: Independence and Liberation Movements in Africa, 1945 – 1994, P.S. 1, New York and Museum Villa Stuck, Munich [2002]; Animations, PS1 New York and Kunst Werke, Berlin [2001]. At the time of writing, the curators have been notified that Oladélé Bamgboyé has ceased to remain working as an artist.”

Bang the Whole Gang

‘Bang the Whole Gang’, is my chapter on glam for Tate Liverpool’s current exhibition catalogue:

Glam! The Performance of Style

Tate Liverpool

8 February – 12 May 2013
£8.00/£6.00 (Gift Aid with donation)

Irreverent and visually excessive, the Glam era is to be critically re-evaluated for the first time in an ambitious new exhibition at Tate Liverpool. Glam, an extravagant pop style which exploded across Britainduring the years 1971 – 5, embraced high and low culture whilst playing with identity and gender definitions. Moving beyond nostalgia, Glam! The Performance of Style will be the first ever exhibition to trace the avant-garde genealogy of Glam, examining its relationship to painting, sculpture, film, performance and installation art in Britain, across Europe and in North America.

Glam emerged in 1971 as the avant-garde pop product par excellence, with the work and ideas of major artists such as Richard Hamilton and Andy Warhol contributing to this. Drawing on avant-garde ideas, key Glam performers such as David Bowie and Roxy Music played with androgyny and conjured an ultra artificial aesthetic which synthesised past styles. This postmodernist style was presented through the optic of the near future with space-age connotations. In a period of enormous social and political unrest, Glam remained detached, seductive yet tantalisingly unattainable.

The exhibition will uncover a repressed aesthetic, revealing the hitherto under-acknowledged exchange between the radical art of the era and Glam expression. Emphasis will fall on performance, in particular ideas of dandyism, exaggerated identity and drag. Included will be works such as Gilbert & George’s iconic video Portrait of the Artists as Young Men 1972, which presents an ultra stylised pose of Gilbert & George as self-conscious decadents. Artists’ use of materials such as vinyl and glitter will be considered, mirroring or allegorising the conventions of Glam, as demonstrated by Marc-Camille Chaimowicz’s Glam-infused theatrical scatter environment Celebration? Realife 1972/2000. The exhibition will also explore how the era provided a backdrop for artists such as Margaret Harrison to assert their identity, often exaggerating and satirising cultural values of beauty and glamour.

Combining historical and thematic elements, Glam! The Performance of Style will bring together important artworks created in a range of media, alongside key documents and photographs, to emphasise the continuing influence of Glam on the contemporary imagination. It will address the under-acknowledged role of Glam in aesthetic and cultural discourse, offering a more comprehensive and nuanced representation of 1970s art.

Glam! The Performance of Style is curated by Darren Pih, Exhibitions and Displays Curator, Tate Liverpool and will tour to the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt (June to September 2013) and Lentos Kunstmuseum Linz (October 2013 to January 2014).