Damien Hirst, ‘Away From the Flock’
‘IT'S ABOUT SEEING SCOTLAND IN AN INTERNATIONAL CONTEXT'
Neil Cooper assesses the significance of Artist Rooms, a major series of exhibitions of work by international artists, drawn from the d’Offay collection
utside of. major retrospectives. the opportunity
toisee bodies of work by international artists
doesn‘t come along too often. This is what struck collector and dealer Anthony d‘()l'l'ay when he first mooted the Artist Rooms project. which bears its first l‘ruit this month with a series of exhibitions shown simultaneously in galleries across the country. Most high prolile of these will he the six rooms at the Scottish National (iallery ol‘ Modern Art. which sets its benchmark with work drawn from d‘()l'l'ay's collection by Damien llirst. Vija (‘elmins. Alex Katl. Francesca Woodman and Andy Warhol.
‘Anthony d‘()l'l‘ay had a very clear vision of wanting to see the work in a monographic context.‘ says l.uc_v Askew. managing curator of Artist Rooms. ‘lle began with the principal ol~ not just wanting the collection seen in lidinburgh and London or else jtist stored away. but to be seen in a wide range of venues that maybe aren't used to housing works like this. Willi this in mind. in 2009 we‘re taking work to l3 galleries. so as well as the artists appearing in lidinburgh. we've got Robert Mapplethorpe in lnverness and Bruce Naumann in ()rkney. Then next year the works will move elsewhere.‘
This approach not only de-centralises and democratises the work beyond national institutions.
including the Tate and the National Galleries ol‘
Scotland. to whom d‘Ol‘l’ay bequeathed his collection. making it more accessible to a truly national audience. It also offers the potential to inﬂuence and inspire a new generation ol‘ artists. In this respect. Artist Rooms sounds akin to the effect of‘ Tramway”s
l‘)‘)() opening in (ilasgow. when audiences could see revered international artists first hand in a less rarclied environment than was traditional.
‘lt‘s very much a collaborative venturef Askew points out. ‘We hope it will be a catalyst to build some really ambitious projects so it can open tip some real creative possibilities. It‘s also about seeing Scotland in an international context.’
Highlights oi. the pilot slitiw's include some oi- llirst's early indulgcnces with l‘iirnialdeliyde. late and rarely seen paintings by Warhol. a complete series of landscapes by Kat/ and images ol‘ seas. deserts and night-skies by (‘elminsp Later in the year. work by American painter Agnes Martin will also go on display as part ol‘ a rolling programme that looks set to be in repertoire in one or other ol' the programme‘s partner galleries l‘or at least the next five years.
'Because the works have come entirely l'rom Anthony d‘()l’l'ay‘s collection it's not purporting to be comprehensive or definitive.~ says Askew. ‘What it is doing is showing pieces by major international figures in a way that allows audiences to put them in context with some ol‘ their other work. Much ol‘ it reflects a very interesting titne during the I‘)t<()s and l‘)‘)()s. much ol‘ which will be being seen in the [K for the first time. We‘ll be showing ()9 pieces by Diane Arbus. for instance. The possibility to be able to do that. and for audiences to see them. that is amazing. and the possibilities that then opens up are Artist Rooms, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, Sat 14 Mar-Sun 8 Nov.
THE BEST EXHIBITIONS
al: Graham Fagen: Somebodyelse The Changing Room relocates to the Tolbooth and inaugurates the space with this compelling exhibition of portrait works by acclaimed Scottish artist Fagen. See review. page 88. The Changing Room, Stirling, until Sat l 1 Apr.
1|: Alex Pollard and Clare Stephenson: The Dirty Hands In this two-artist exhibition paintings, collages and freestanding objects have been constructed into mise-en- scenes featuring a cast of fantastic characters. See review, page 88. CCA, Glasgow, until Sat 27 Mar.
:1: Sebastian Buerkner: Glove First exhibition in Scotland of work by Buerkner, who explores space, time and consciousness through animation. See caption. page 89. Tramway, Glasgow, until Sun 22 Mar.
III Jimmy Robert: Grey Flannel Suits Any Man Beautiful, intelligently rendered and meticulous exploration of the fragility of representation by the Guadeloupe-born artist. See review, page 88. Sorcha Dal/as. Glasgow, until Sat 28 Mar.
II! Artist Rooms The first of a series of exhibitions featuring work by internationally renowned artists. See preview, left. Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, Sat 14 Mar—Sun 8 Nov.
alt Toby Paterson: Ever Growing Never Old A new exhibition by one of Scotland's most successful young artists. Reviewed next issue. 7729 Modern Institute, Glasgow, until Thu 9 Apr.
, ‘ affm j/i’ﬂ‘ THE LIST 87