Beagles and Ramsay with one of their sculptures
Beagles and Ramsay with one of their sculptures

100 pieces of Scottish art need new homes

A new scheme offering people the chance to adopt a contemporary Scottish sculpture has been launched.

More than 50 Scottish artists have joined an initiative to find new homes for nearly 100 contemporary sculptures currently in storage.

Glasgow International will see nearly 100 contemporary Scottish sculptures being put up for adoption in order to find them new homes and fresh audiences.

There will even be an artist and adopter speed dating event to match potential guardians with their ideal artwork.

Pieces by Laura Aldridge, Beagles & Ramsay, Mary Redmond, Andrew Lacon, Rachel Lowther, Nick Evans, Felix Welch and Littlewhitehead will be on show at the Sculpture Showroom in the hopes of finding them somewhere to go on long-term display.

Sculpture Placement Group (SPG), who are behind the adoption scheme, have also created a catalogue featuring the rest of the 94 available works by the 54 mainly Scottish artists currently taking part.

The show is being set up with an IKEA-like showroom feel – to give an idea what the sculptures would look like in a real-life setting like an office or public space.

The idea is to find new audiences for high-quality art that is languishing in storage by placing them with educational and health organisations, community groups, art institutions, charities, housing associations and businesses.

Kate V Robertson, one of the curators and artists behind the project, said: ‘Our aim is to bring some sculptural joy into people’s daily lives.

‘Sculpture Showroom will test a new model for circulating artworks, increasing access to art and alleviating the difficulties artists have in finding space to store works which are not on show.

‘The adoption scheme is a way of giving new life to good quality sculpture that would otherwise be hidden away, and making it available to fresh audiences including people who might not normally go to contemporary art galleries.

‘And we hope that Sculpture Showroom will be an enjoyable way for organisations to find artworks to adopt – while also being a good chance for any art lover to see an impressive range of work by some excellent contemporary sculptors.’

Beagles and Ramsay with one of their sculptures

Among those offering work through the programme are the respected Beagles & Ramsay.

Graham Ramsay said: ‘Any artist would prefer for their work to be present in the world rather than hidden in a box – we all make work to be seen or interacted with. So the adoption plan addresses a fundamental aspect of making art; namely that any artwork is completed by an audience, and that it is designed to stimulate conversation and communication.’

SPG believes the art market is also too geared to novelty and fails to recognise that works do not lose their artistic value when their initial period on display comes to an end.

Sculptures commissioned for shows are often only seen once as no arrangements are made for a continued life after the exhibition ends, and artists are left with the choice of destroying or storing them.

Sculpture Showroom is a pilot project and if it’s successful SPG hopes to further extend the adoption scheme. So far the indications are positive with the group having received more than 30 enquiries even before the festival begins.

One 2016 one wall mounted metal artwork, Sculpture for the Lobby (Speculative Commission), by Felix Welch, will be heading straight off to a new life with Collective Architecture at its offices in Gallowgate, Glasgow, after the exhibition ends on 7 May.

A showroom of sculptures looking for a home is to be set up

Jane Briggs, Collective Architecture office manager, said: ‘As a practice we collaborate with artists but have never adopted a piece of art before. When this opportunity came up it seemed like a great idea to bring art to a wider audience.

‘It’s a great way to bring someone else’s perspective on the world into your own workplace and to also allow contemporary art to be seen in a different setting, outside a gallery.’

The practice will also be inviting Felix in for a lunchtime session to talk to staff about his work, something it’s hoped they will enjoy and that will also allow them to tell visitors and clients about it.

The SPG founders, who include curators Michelle Emery-Barker and Martin Craig, were partly inspired by the success of the 2014 Reclaimed – the second life of sculpture exhibition they created at the Briggait, in Glasgow.

This highlighted the plight of Spirit of Kentigern (popularly known as The Whale’s Tail) which originally had its home in Buchanan Street but ended up in a field. In 2017 Neil Livingston’s sculpture found a permanent place in front of City of Glasgow College. The organisers had previous success with the innovative Art Lending Library.

Visitors can see the works at the Glasgow Sculpture Studios, Whisky Bond, 2 Dawson Rd, Glasgow, G4 9SS, from Friday 20 April to Monday 7 May. It is open Monday to Saturday noon to 5pm, Sunday, noon to 4pm.