A grand day out in Glasgow

You can be a traveller in your home city, right? As my blog tagline is “Writing about my favourite places” Glasgow certainly qualifies. For our first weekend back we were looking for something to do to make us feel as if we might still be on holiday, so I turned to Glasgow Museums for inspiration. The British Art Show is on, but only until 21st August so I would recommend rushing along to see it. It only happens every 5 years and the only other port of call left is Plymouth (from 17th September). In Glasgow, the exhibition is spread over three venues but we only had time to do two today. GoMA (Gallery of Modern Art) is housed in a neo-classical building which used to be Stirling’s Library. The library moved out when GoMA moved in, but has now moved back into the basement. One feature you might notice, other than the typically dreich Glagow weather, is the statue with its nifty headgear:


The traffic cone on Wellington’s head is a Glasgow tradition, I don’t think anyone even bothers to remove it now as it returns so quickly. However, I have never seen the hat on top of the traffic cone before!


The other venue we visited was the CCA (Centre for Contemporary Art) and in between we fitted in lunch in Amarone, one of my favourite city centre restaurants. It’s part of a larger group, but doesn’t feel like a chain restaurant. It’s near the Subway and the Concert Hall so perfect for pre-theatres, the menu for which varies quite a bit and always has more than one choice for veggies. This was the first time I’ve been at lunchtime and it was just as good. My highlight was the sweet potato and cauliflower soup with gorgonzola cream. Yummy. Saves cooking tonight too.

Now for the culture bit. We really enjoyed the exhibition. Highlights included portraits by Alasdair Gray which were spread over both venues. I liked the twin portraits of May in GoMA, one showing her fully clothed in an armchair and the other naked in an imaginary armchair. I also liked George Shaw’s enamel paintings of the Coventry council estate he grew up in because they could easily have been Glasgow. Most fascinating were the films. I walked into one by Elizabeth Price (GoMA) called User Group Disco and the first word I saw on screen was taxonomy. It was all about classification and categorising objects, in an imaginary Hall of Sculptures, that were similar but different. The objects whirled about on screen to music (warning, to a headache-inducing point if you are vulnerable): some were decorative and some were functional (kitchen implements for instance) and I think the point was that they could all be classified as art if we chose. It appealed to the librarian side of me anyway.

The other film we enjoyed was at the CCA – though as it lasted 24 hours we only saw a small part of it. The Clock, by Christian Marclay, consists of thousands of excerpts from films which show clocks, watches and characters reacting to a particular time of day. It is synchronised to the actual time and you could set your watch by it. I was amazed by the amount of research that must have gone into this. We watched for about 20 minutes from 3.15pm and I lost count of the number of film clips used. I don’t know if this is a particularly rich time of day or if other time periods also feature so much in films. There was everything from Mary Poppins to James Bond and, even more amazing, as well as the time some of the action coincided. For example, Mary Poppins raised her umbrella to fly away and the very next clip also had someone floating through the air. I’m lost in amazement and wished we’d had time to see more. I highly recommend this exhibition and hope to make it to the third venue next weekend.

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