The continuing controversy over Glasgow’s Gallery Of Modern Art (GOMA) was stoked further with the news that Alison Watt has joined a growing band of prominent Scottish artists unhappy about the hanging of their work in the new gallery.
At 29, Watt is one of Scotland‘s most successful young artists. She won the John Player Portrait Award while a student at Glasgow School Of Art and was later commissioned to paint the Queen Mother. in many ways her ﬁgurative work epitomises a style of art championed by Glasgow‘s director of museums and art galleries. Julian Spalding.
However Watt‘s painting. a coolly- coloured work entitled Marat And The Fishes currently hangs feet away from a clutch of works by the much- discussed Beryl Cook and photographs ofa dying Aids patient in GOMA’s Water gallery. Watt feels the painting is not shown to its best advantage.
Painted in 1989. the work was
presented through the Hamilton Bequest to Glasgow‘s Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum where it was originally shown. However it was relocated to the city's new Gallery Of Modem Art by Spalding. Watt is now exploring the rights an artist has once a work passes into a public collection which runs a number of gallery spaces. ‘lt‘s a very grey area and i am not sure what the artist‘s rights are.’ said Watt.
She feels a public gallery has an obligation to present an artist’s work with sensitivity. ‘The painting was at home at Kelvingrove and it‘s a gallery 1 have always enjoyed visiting. There is not the equivalent atmosphere at the Gallery Of Modern Art. You can't engage with the work there, it‘s very alienating.‘
Glasgow artist Ken Currie has also ﬁred criticism at GOMA over the hanging of his large scale canvas. Bathers. He believes the power of the curator. has greatly increased over the
Gallery controversy raises questions about artists’ rs
Alison Watt: unhappy with position of painting in new gallery
last ﬁfteen years and is partly to
blame. ‘The intellectual property of the artist has become the property of the curator'. says Currie. ‘l think it‘s
important to take the artist's wishes into consideration. [just want my work to be seen properly.‘ (Susanna Beaumont)
Sorters: fighting them on the beaches
Scots surfers’ health fears
The campaign group Surfers Against Sewage (SAS), are to become more active in Scotland over worries about coastal water quality.
They claim 400 million gallons of sewage is discharged Into British seas daily, 40 per cent of it raw waste, quoting a House of Commons Environment Committee report which links bathing in polluted water with ‘minor infections . . . certain skin irritations and gastroenteritis.’
Scottish members of the 24,000- strong organisation are being asked to document sightings of raw sewage and to notify SAS if they become ill after being in the water. Particular attention is being drawn to St. Andrews, where SAS claim sewage treatment is turned off during the winter when surfing conditions are at their best.
A spokesperson for East of Scotland Water said St. Andrews Bad Sands beach met bacterial standards. ‘Sewege is treated all year round,’ she claimed.’
Glasgow’s Volcano nightclub is hosting a benefit night for SAS on Wednesday 22 May. (Bury Weller)
Campaign group calls for heroin on the NHS
Opposition to the Scotland Against Orugs Campaign (SAO) looks unlikely to disappear, despite signs of retreat from the Scottish Office over the issue of harm reduction.
The counter-campaign Scotland Against Orug Hypocrisy (SAOii), was launched last week by Kevin Williamson, editor of the magazine Rebel Inc. Backed by Scottish Militant Labour’s Tommy Sheridan, Graeme Steel - son of former Liberal Party leader Sir David Steel and author lrvine Welsh, the campaign rejected the SAO campaign as an attack on youth culture. They also claimed it would not address the real issues and called for herein to be made available on prescription.
Following the official launch of the Scottish Office campaign, Williamson says his opposition is unchanged. ‘What I have seen doesn’t convince
me any further,’ he said. ‘They seem to have become bum-again harm reductionists, but they stop short of the measures needed.’
Williamson believes these include addressing the social issues behind the drugs problem. ‘There is no problem in areas like Bearsden, Newton Meams and Momingslde. It is to do with the conditions in the housing schemes,’ he argues.
Both aspects were taken on board by Alex Salmond at the launch of the SAO campaign. The SNP leader said: ‘Those involved in harm reduction have a legitimate role to play. I also think the campaign has to admit that there is an enduring problem in areas of high social deprivation. Basically, if you are asking people to choose life not drugs then you had better make sure they have got a life worth choosing.’
For Williamson, this is evidence of cracks appearing in the all-party unity of the SAO campaign. He claims it is easy to present a united front until policies are finalised. ‘At the moment they are saying they don’t have any policies, which to me is ridiculous’.
The aim at present is to listen, and SAM! have contributed ideas of their own to the consultation process, the most radical of which is to offer addicts heroin on prescription. The view is backed by the Liberal Democrat Party’s spokesman on drugs Or John Marks, who prescribed herein to addicts at his clinic in Wldnes.
The results were striking, he claims: ‘Police found a 96 per cent reduction in acquisitive crime, a 92 per cent reduction in new cases of addiction, and locally-acquired HIV infection from drug use is zero’. (Stephen iiaysmlth with Thom Olbdln)
Trainspotting an overnight sensation at Cannes Festival
Trainspotting‘s international premiere at the Cannes Film Festival ended with a ﬁve minute long standing ovation from a capacity audience who had whooped and cheered from the moment the curtains began to part.
The screening was held just after midnight on Monday IS at the 2500 seat main auditorium in the French town. and was attended by an enviable list of stars and celebrities.
Director Danny Boyle, producer Andrew Macdonald, writer John Hodge, novelist lrvine Welsh and actors Ewan McGregor and Ewen Bremner were joined by Damon Albam. Justine Frischman. Leonardo DiCaprio. Spike Lee and Steve Buscemi.
Whoever sat Noel Gallagher directly in front of Heritage Secretary Virginia Bottomley obviously had a sense of
humour. This was the hottest ticket of the festival, perhaps topped only by the following night‘s Trainspotting beach party at which Leftﬁeld played a live set.
Boyle. Macdonald and Hodge flew into Cannes in a private jet hired by ﬁlm distributors Polygram to stay at the town‘s key hotels. it’s a giant leap from their ﬁrst visit two years ago when Shallow Grave screened to industry buyers in the festival market and the team stayed in a bed and breakfast on the outskirts.
Critical reaction to Trainspotting has been ecstatic. with trade bible Variety calling it ‘a Clockwork Orange for the 90s'. Some American journalists expressed concern that the ﬁlm’s content might cause censorship problems in the States. but with a tiny trim to the Renton/Diane sex scene.
Damon Albarn: spotted at Trainspotting
Trainspotting has received an ‘R' rating (equivalent to a UK ‘18') and is due for Stateside release in July.
The only question that remains here in Cannes is. what‘s the French subtitle for ‘radge'? (Alan Morrison)
Alan Morrison reports front the Cannes Festival in the Film section. see p28.
4 The List 17-30 May 1996