Paul Watts Photograher

Nicola met with David Harding & Clare Simpson, Senior Arts Development Officer Culture and Sport, Glasgow, to talk about public art in Glasgow and commissioning public art.

We invited Clare to write her thoughts:

Nicola got in touch with me a few weeks ago about the idea of bringing a group of people from Abbey View through to Glasgow to see examples of public art and hear about the different processes involved in their commissioning. The questions that Nicola was asking and the research she was planning was also appealing and very relevant to me, as part of what I'm doing at the moment is drafting a public art strategy for an area of Glasgow.

Nicola and I met with David Harding on Tuesday. David has had a huge impact on the visual arts in Glasgow, and in fact way beyond Glasgow, both through his own art works and through his establishment of the Environmental Art course at Glasgow School of Art. This course was established at a time when theory and practice around public art was very different than it is today. Under David's direction the environmental art course produced some of Glasgow's best known artists - in short, David's breadth of knowledge and experience put him at the top of the list when it comes to people in Glasgow you'd want to talk to about public art, and discuss such questions as:

What makes good public art?

Good public art is the kind that is relevant to the context in which it is made. Permanent public art should endure, and when it's successful it can become invisible in a good way - an accepted, perhaps even cherished, part of the landscape.

How do you provide a piece of art for the public? Who is that public?

There are many different routes to follow when commissioning art, and different ways of involving the public. 
Different sites will have different 'publics' or 'communities'. Getting to the public can be a problem in the commissioning process, as there are many gatekeepers who claim to speak on behalf of others, but very often misrepresent them. In many successful cases, the public is what 'makes' the work - not in a physical sense, in terms of fabrication, but in their interaction with the artist and their response to it. The work is only complete when its effect is experienced. (We spoke about Graham Fagen's Royston Road trees as an example.)

David Harding " Participation, I was trying to say, makes the art in soc eng practice not public art in general"

Who makes the choice? 

Within a framework of consultation and an agreed brief, an artist should be able to be the expert, and take risks. Public Art shouldn't be about giving people the ‘known’; it should be about giving people what they didn't know they wanted in the first place. It should bring surprise, change the way people see or think or experience a space. It is important that a too bureaucratic decision making process doesn't stand in the way of decisions being made. Can too much consultation stifle the creative process? (Camels were designed by committee).

If you were going to Glasgow what public work would you take people to see?

This was what prompted Nicola to contact me in the first place. Well, here are some of David's suggestions: 

Kenny Hunter's Millennium Baby and skull on the Tron Theatre 

Claire Barclay's hut in Govanhill 

Douglas Gordon's 'Empire' in Tontine Lane 

Sandy Stoddart's series of classical figures at the Italian Centre 

Shona Kinloch's works also at the Italian Centre 

Linsey Leitch in the Eco House

On Wednesday a professional photographer Paul Watts visited Abbey View Eco House to photo Nicola's 702 Dwellings artwork, it was created for the SEE EYE Event in March 2007. 702 Dwellings was constructed and personalised by 500 students at Woodmill High School. It has been re install in the Eco House. It can be view by contacting Nicola.

Nicola invited a few students from Woodmill High School to be photograph. Nicole Tate, Mark Queen, Kieran Startup, Stuart Barr, Craig Mercer, Lisa McGurk & Sarah Pickard - along with Jackie Powton the Art Teacher of Woodhill High School.

These images will be use for the Annual Report for the ROA (Regeneration Outcome Agreement) The Artist in Abbey View is partly funded by the ROA.

Photographs © Nicola Atkinson Does Fly

No comments: