A very mod­ern art show... the gallery which has no art at all

Scottish Daily Mail - - Manchester Terror - By Sam Walker

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

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