The Modern Institute I"
Glasgow: Suite 6, 73 Robertson Street.
The Glasgow building that houses The Modern Institute has the distinct look of a Cagney And Lacey film set. Perhaps unsurprising, given the fact that the Institute neighbours a private detective agency. But that is where comparisons end.
The Modern Institute is, as the name implies, a fresh-faced and thoroughly comtemporary organisation. Set-up by a trio of artists-cum-curators - Will Bradley, Charles Esche and Toby Webster - it is the latest addition to Scotland‘s art scene. Setting out to produce and promote artists‘ projects, it will, as Toby Webster puts it, 'evolve, nuturing good artists, but maybe one minute working as an artist agency, the next managing the production of an artist's film'.
Another aim is to get the British public, notorious for not being big spenders when it comes to contemporary art. to dig into their pockets and splash out. For their first project, artists Christine Borland, David Shrigley and Jonnie Wilkes produced artwork editions. Borland recorded a CD of an adolescent boy reading from Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, while David Shrigley — Scotland's master of off-beat humour and zany drawings - has produced Blank Page And Other Pages. Here he details the daily struggle and strife of the brain of a madman, and at £10 a book, every home could have one.
The Institute, however is no white space of a gallery. ’We have a showroom but it is a very comfy environment with a cosy character,’ says Webster. The Institute does not want to be a single-tracked, office- bound organisation. Funded by a start-up grant from the Scottish Arts Council, The Modern Institute hopes
Vodershow: screen printer poster by Jonnie Wilkes going for £30
to take initiatives that gallery-bound organisations can only dream of. In a collaboration with Glasgow 1999, the Institute is looking to a shortlist of international artists, including Douglas Gordon and Richard Wilson, to create a site-specific artwork for the city. Another project sees Simon Starling taking off to Ecuador to source balsa wood to make a model aeroplane which will then be shipped to a show of Scottish art in Australia.
For their summer holidays, The Modern Institute is not going quite as far afield. Taking up a short-term residency in the London gallery, Sadie Coles HQ, it will be spreading the word of Scotland's fine band of artists to a doubtless eager audience. ’We can’t work with everyone’ says Webster, 'but we want to make a difference.’ (Susanna Beaumont)
! The Modern Institute is open by appointment; ca// 07 47 248 371 7 for details.
Classroom trials: Chad McCail's Age 12, No 1
sullied by hand-me-down violence of the everyday kind which continues a chain of abuse. McCail describes the work as 'autobiographical', though he doesn't wish to make a big deal of the fact. He also cites iconoclastic sexual philosopher Wilhelm Reich as an inﬂuence.
'l was quite persuaded by his arguments about what happens when you're sexually disturbed at a very young age,’ McCail, a former student of Goldsmith's College in London. ’What I'm trying to get at is how the undermining of pre-pubescent sexuality sets up conflicts in the personality. These expose the subject towards complicity and acquiescence, in the face of hostile and disruptive cultural patterns.’
Unsurprisingly — after such a scientific-sounding mouthful — McCail
Edinburgh: Collective Gallery Sat 2—Sun 31 May.
As the furore over the film Lolita has shown, we're still shy of child sexuality. Meanwhile, tales of child sexual abuse appear in the news with ever more frequenCy. Chad McCail's series of
74 mum 3o Apr-14 May 1998
architectural-ster drawings explores this theme — along with other abusive forms of power control.
Cartoon-strip like, their clean lines, blank faces and stOry-book narratives look at first glance like innocent illustrations from the children's section of the local library. But take a closer peek and you Will find 56xua| discovery,
is not interested in art for art’s sake. He wants his work to be didactic, and seems to be pointing out that sexual control is part of a far wider political control. ’I don’t find defining my work as art particularly attractive', says McCail. 'l'm more interested in the idea of visual information.’
Putting the artworld in the frame.
SITE-SPECIFIC ARTWORKS are increasingly getting to parts they have not got to previously. Currently moving its way off the coast of Aberdeen to a site in the midst of the North Sea is 3 BP oil and gas platform. Roughly the size of two football pitches, the vast structure is the first rig to commission an artist to create a rig- specific artwork.
Glasgow-based artist Donald Urquhart has taken on an internal corridor space. As Urquhart wisely points out, the work 'will be repeatedly seen by a regular audience'. Urquhart has painted a series of columns in flat colours, subliminal reminders of the land, which he has surrounded by an arrangement of computer output prints of text and photographic imagery.
BACK ON DRY land, it looks as if Glasgow's CCA is to close in April 1999 to begin its £10 million redevelopment programme. A lottery grant of £75 million from the Scottish Arts Council — topped up by the European Regional Development Fund, Historic Scotland and Glasgow Development Agency — has ensured that CCA can go ahead with Glasgow architects Page and Park's grand scheme to expand the premises.
MEANWHILE GLASGOW ARTISTS are continuing to make their mark further afield. The Tate Gallery in Liverpool reopens on 23 May with an exhibition that includes work by Christine Borland and Nathan Coley. Borland shows English Family China — porcelain casts of a 'family' of skulls - while Coley, as ever exploring the ambiguities of images and description, juxtaposes pictures of a small church with a description of a large minster.
WEEKEND TRIPPERS CAN catch up on young Glasgow talent at London's The Showroom. Add Night To Night features work by eight Glasgow artists including Cathy Wilkes, Will Bradley and Tatham and O'Sullivan. The exhibition runs until 31 May. Further info call 0181 983 4115.
House style: Nathan Coley's 199 Villa Savoye slide installation