Those glant spoons (10R Glasgow’s MCLellan pestgiéifgzlcding Stilmpl)’ being k . . ause e wants 0 ma e ggixaiigommfic Gallenes_ reopens “:11? . his mark, or was the whole briefing Balnbrldge. .. N month With The British Art for The British Art Show completely Show, hotly pursued by wrong-headed? Will having the BAS h G1 G . . followed by the GGBAE be a waste T e asgow feat BrltlSh oftime, space and money, or will Art Exhibition , Hilary they (along with other 1990 shows Robinson looks at the such as one ofchildren‘s work) lay . down a pattern we can hope for in hlStOT)’ and controversy future McLellan shows? Time will ° tell, but the signs are that the BAS behmd bOth Shows. and the GGBAE in tandem will . _ provide a solid and complementary An exhibition that IS controversral guide to contemporary mainstream before the selection process has got British an, Both fully under way is bound to provoke McLellan shows do include artists interest. Such is the case with The who effectively criticise mainstream British Art Show. It was bound to culture, but the overall format of the attract attention anyway since it shows is one of celebration. Any launches the refurbished McLellan political or cultural dissent by artists Galleries— a major event for is therefore likely to be contained as Glasgow City Art Galleries. After a just one of many contemporary fire destroyed Trerons department styles, store and the McLellan, the building What the two shows will have in lay fallow. But last year renovation common is that all the work will have work began, and for months been produced in the last twelve shoppers in Sauchiehall Street have months or so. The selectors of The dodged muck and men. Now an British Art Show (Nairne, London international standard art exhibition artist David Ward, and Caroline space has been created, some Collier ofthe South Bank Centre) three-quarters the size of the had a brief to select about 40 artists Hayward Gallery in London, aged up to their mid-thirties. offering potential so far missing in working in a range of media. The Scotland for the major exhibitions selectors thought about who might that flourish on the Continent and in be of importance during the 19905, in America. contrast to the last British Art Show At the time that work got (1985) which reassessed the previous underway, Julian Spalding from five years’ work. Manchester City Art Galleries was A mixture of40 renowned and appointed to run the increasingly lesser-known artists, male and moribund Glasgow City Art female, chosen from the 1000 visited Galleries. Feathers were ruffled by the selectors. Six live in Scotland. (inside and outside the Galleries) as Nairne freely admits that the changes were made: a remark he exhibition cannot show all the best made about a children‘s sandpit was young artists in Britain today. ‘These 'misquoted and thrown back at him; are some of the best,‘ he says. ‘who and his appointment was seen by between them make a good show.‘ some as yet another symptom of the Many good artists had to be left out Anglicising of Scottish culture. for reasons ofspace, to make a show Against such a backdrop, the of work that would hang well re-opening exhibition of the together and to be representative of McLellan Galleries was bound to the output of that age-group. cause a stir. Funded by the Arts The Glasgow Great British Art Council ofGreat Britain, it was Exhibition takes up where the arranged that the Great British Art British Art Show leaves off; all the Show should tour Glasgow, Leeds artists are in their mid-thirties or and the Hayward in London. But over. For Spalding, though, the most crucially the Arts Council point of a survey of British art is to appointed and briefed three show work from the ‘best’ artists. selectors unconnected with Glasgow ‘l’m pleased to have a show of young City Art Galleries. artists, but it has to be It has been an open secret since he complemented by the work of arrived that Spalding was not established artists.‘ His selection was entirely happy with the way that the made on the artists‘ reputation, first exhibition slot of the new rather than on looking at work; McLellan was to be filled. This, indeed, many of the artists, like coupled with the fact that one of the Kitaj, are sending work straight from selectors is Andrew Nairne, the studio. It will be an opportunity exhibitions organiser at the Third to see the latest productions of artists Eye Centre, a stone‘s throw from the such as Lucien Freud, Bruce McLellan, has ensured a field day for McLean, Paula Rego. Art and the gossip-mongers. Rumours have Language, Bridget Riley and Barry grown that the South Bank Centre Flanagan. ‘Someone will probably (the ACGB exhibition‘s organisers) correct me,‘ says Spalding, ‘butl drove a hard bargain, suggesting that don‘t think Glasgow has yet had a future ACGB exhibitions might not chance to see major work by Bacon be available for Glasgow ifThe or Hockney. and it‘s important that British Art Show wasn‘t accepted. they are seen here‘. Spalding’s resolution of the issue is to take the show, but to follow it with the exhibition that he would have The British Art Show opens the preferred it to be, selected according McLellan Galleries, 24 Jan-11 . . to completely different criteria. March; The Glasgow Great Brmsh Impishly, he '5 called it The Glasgow Art Exhibitionfollows. 27 Great British Art Exhibition. March—May 13-

16 The List 12 25 January 1990