A very modern art show... the gallery which has no art at all
FROM a shark pickled in formaldehyde to an unmade bed, some infamous modern art has divided public opinion.
Now an upcoming art exhibition that will contain absolutely no art has left many scratching their heads – and been blasted as a ‘waste of taxpayers’ hard-earned cash’.
For the bizarre show, titled This Exhibition Has Been Cancelled, the main space at Glasgow’s Gallery of Modern Art (Goma) will sit empty for five months, with signs informing
‘Cash is being wasted on this charade’
visitors that the show has been abandoned.
Museum bosses claim that the display by Dutch artist Marlie Mul is meant to ‘make the public question how relevant a new art exhibition is in modern society’.
But spending watchdog the TaxPayers’ Alliance has lashed out at the cost of hosting the show amid widespread cuts to public services by Glasgow City Council, which has been told to plug a £53million black hole this year.
The exhibition comes three years after the same artist cashed in by flogging sculptures that look like dirty puddles for £3,400 each.
TaxPayers’ Alliance chief John O’Connell said: ‘It is remarkable how authorities seem to have a talent for finding innovative ways to waste taxpayers’ money.
‘For households struggling with rising bills this will seem like a cruel joke. It is also deeply concerning that residents – who are picking up the bill – are not being told how much of their hardearned cash is being wasted on this charade. Taxpayers expect their money to go to essential services, not to be squandered.’
For the exhibition, which opens tomorrow and runs until October 29, the artist has created 21 billboards announcing its ‘cancellation’ and these will be placed around the gallery. Forms will be left in the room, so that people who want to stage events in the space can propose their ideas.
Drawing classes, film screenings and yoga sessions have all been put forward as suggestions.
Will Cooper, Goma’s curator of contemporary art, said: ‘By removing what would traditionally be considered an art object, we are instead presenting the gallery as an empty space, giving us a moment to question the value in turning over exhibition after exhibition after exhibition.
‘The public have been invited to respond and suggest ways that we might use the space. We’re excited by the different types of activities that might be on offer during this cancelled show.’
Glasgow Life, which manages the gallery, refused to say how much the artist is being paid for the work, but a spokesman did confirm she will receive a commission fee ‘in line with other artists’ who have exhibited at Goma.
Duncan Dornan, head of Glasgow Museums and Collections, said: ‘We do not disclose the fee paid to individual artists for commissioned work.’
In budget cuts announced in February, Glasgow City Council will lose £14million from its social work department, £5.3million from education services and £5million from land and environmental services. Council tax is expected to rise by the maximum 3 per cent.
Exhibition: Goma in Glasgow