If your home is still decorated with Athena posters - shame. It is time to tear them down and replace them with a piece of contemporary art.

Words: Susanna Beaumont

We Brits are renowned for a number of things. We are believed to be a shy and reserved bunch who contentedly eat pies and mash. A habit which is redeemed by our sharp, dry wit. And we are not buyers of contemporary art, at heart preferring Old Masters. Our continental neighbours of course are different. They quaff endlessly on fine wine, dine on exquisite culinary delights and buy contemporary art

with the same case as purchasing a pound of . Camembert. Richard Ingleby

This is a generalisation and it’s a generalisation that is fast becoming dated. Today we prefer chilled wine to warm beer and we are increasingly buying contemporary art. Think of 905 contemporary art and the name of Charles Saatchi sooner or later is bound to crop up. The one- time ad man who famously gave the Tories the slogan ‘Labour Isn’t Working’ is now famed as an art collector. His vast collection of work by Damien Hirst, Rachel Whiteread, Jenny Saville and others was shown at London’s Royal Academy in 1998. It was greeted with an avalanche of press coverage. Yet aspirations to a Saatchi-like empire of art is however ambitious. You would need a sizeable bank balance. So where should the art buyer with a shoestring budgcthead?

Glasgow’s George Square is about to host its fifth Glasgow Art Fair. The largest contemporary art fair

78 THE lIST 13—27 Apr 2000

'We want to persuade people to buy art closer to home and not feel the need to go to London.’

outside London, last year over 15,000 people visited the vast marquee to stroll among the stands of the many participating galleries. This year participating galleries include Edinburgh’s Collective and Portfolio galleries and Glasgow’s Street Level and Modern Institute. And according to Toby Webster, co-director of the Modern Institute, art buying need not involve mega-bucks.

‘We have a limited edition of drawings by Hayley Thompson and a poster by Simon Starling for £50,’ says Webster who has noticed an increased interest in contemporary art buying over the last couple of years. ‘Look at all the commercial galleries now in London. They are selling to someone and I think it is a new generation of buyers.’

The Modern Institute which was formed in 1998, is keen to promote the work of artists living in Scotland. ‘We go to art fairs in Berlin, Basel and Stockholm to build up an international base but we are also keen to build up a base in Scotland,’ he says. ‘People here are now getting to know us.’

Edinburgh’s Ingleby Gallery also believes that Scotland’s art market is developing. The gallery opened in 1998 with the aim of showing and selling contemporary art by artists based in Scotland and beyond. ‘We want to persuade people to buy art closer to home and not feel the need to go to London,‘ says owner Richard Ingleby. Last year the Ingleby held a show of work by Callum Innes, the Edinburgh artist who was shortlisted for the Turner Prize a few years back. The exhibition was a sell-out. ‘There shouldn’t be any shame about being a commercial gallery,’ says Ingleby who puts the growing interest in contemporary art partly down to the age we live in. ‘I think it is a millennial thing. We seem to be more interested in the world we live in now and that is reflected by a growing interest in art made today.’

Glasgow Art Fair, George Square, Thu 13—Sun 16 Apr.


News and views from the world of art

THERE HAD BEEN doubts about Edinburgh's Collective Gallery being

able to reopen on time for the British Art Show. Closed for a

Lottery-funded refit, all fears were however laid to rest. The gallery stylishly restyled by Edinburgh architects Reiach and Hall flung open its doors on schedule. The gallery has also announced the

seven artists selected by the

gallery's Sarah Munro and Kate Gray and artist Chad McCail as part of their New Work Scotland Programme. They are David Blyth, Bryan Davies, Katy Dove, Michelle Naismith, James Thornhill, Jonathan Owen and Mick Peter and they will be all be making new work for the

Collective in 2000.

THE FIRST IN a series of major

exhibitions of contemporary art to be held every three years at Tate

Britain is being curated by

Edinburgh-based Charles Esche. Titled New British Art 2000: Intelligence artists include Scotland’s Douglas Gordon, Richard Wright and Alan Johnston along with Martin

Creed, Sarah Lucas and Gillian

Wearing. The show opens on 6 July.

WEEKENDERS TO LONDON can catch Claire Barclay’s (see left) solo show at London's The Showroom (020 8983 4115) until 7 May. Stephen Hurrel who recently provided audio boat trips along Glasgow's Clyde is also in London. Hurrel has made a series of coloured light displays for the pedestrian tunnel that runs between the Embankment and Spring Gardens which sets out to

ask passers-by about real and

imagined journeys.

A LITTLE MORE LOCAL is a trail of trees in Royston, Glasgow, planted by artists Graham Fagen and Toby Paterson as part of a Visual Art Projects scheme to develop two new public spaces in the area. The artists teamed up with Loci Design landscape architects and the trees include several apple varieties, a monkey puzzle and a sycamore. For

further details call Visual Art

Projects on 0141 552 6563.


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Ground force: the McKay family plant a cherry tree at Royston