Tag Archives: exhibition

sh[OUT] – “Down with this sort of thing!”

Today HD and I met up with some friends from York who are staying in Scotland for a couple of weeks to relax prior to the (very imminent) birth of their first baby. We met at the Gallery of Modern Art, which is currently the home of an exhibition called sh[OUT] which is of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex art (some of the art is sexually explicit but there’s nothing explicit at that link) as part of GoMA’s biannual social justice exhibition. There were bits of it that I enjoyed more than others (as with any exhibition) – some things I just thought “eh?”, other aspects of the exhibition were a bit pseudy, and others I liked more. Part of the exhibition wasMade in God’s Image which was a selection of art exploring the intersection of sexuality and religion, the bulk of this featured photos of members of the Metropolitan Community Church interpreting various Biblical stories (the link shows the photo of Ruth and Naomi). There was also a piece featuring a Bible, which was asking people to add their stories by writing in the Bible themselves (the point being that many LGBTI people feel they have been removed from the Bible, or at least from standard interpretations of it). Unfortunately (and I am amazed they didn’t see this coming, but anyway) all that happened was that the Bible ended up full of offensive graffiti, and so now the Bible is in a glass case and there are some blank pages next to it which are added to the Bible every so often. There was another bit with pages of the Bible torn out and screwed up, and a photo of a woman with pages of the Bible in her mouth and up her nose etc – have to say I found that gratuitous and offensive to be honest, I didn’t see its value as either art or as a statement on discrimination but it felt like it was being offensive for the sake of it. They also had a small amount of art from people from the Muslim community (though as they said in the blurb, the relatively small amount compared to Christian communities probably attests to the difficulty that many in other religious communities have in exploring and discussing sexuality). There was one set of photos, 3 I think, of a Muslim guy which related to his everyday life as a Muslim and as a gay man, which I found very moving in particular.

As we left the museum, there was a protest by a small group of Christians with banners and posters with Glasgow’s extended motto (“Let Glasgow flourish by the preaching of Thy Word and the praising of Thy Name”). I’m not sure if it was a one-off protest or if they are protesting there regularly for the duration of the exhibition, but it was the strangest juxtaposition – it reminded me very much of the Father Ted Down With This Sort of Thing protest, and (similarly to how I felt when I went to the service where Bishop Gene Robinson preached at St Mary’s Cathedral last year) the contrast between the humour and hurt and reality and creativity inside in the exhibition and the dour, joyless protest outside was really very striking – as one of our friends said, it was almost like it was an extension of the exhibition (and, probably more eloquently than any of the art, highlighted the exclusion and hatred that many people face as they try to face and live who they truly are). I don’t know – I think I understand why they are protesting (though I think they’re very wrong), but I just wish if they’re going to claim to represent the church and the Christian faith that they’d be less miserable and dour about it. Protesting against something you believe to be wrong is one thing, but to be so sour about it does the church no favours, and to be honest I think is counter-productive. Plus it’s probably doing more to publicise the exhibition than if they stayed at home and ignored it.

So, sh[OUT] – worth a look I’d say if you are in town, though I wouldn’t take children unless you (and they) are ready for a very frank conversation about birds & bees, birds & birds, bees & bees, etc. The main part of the exhibition is on till November, and the Made in God’s Image bit is on till 22nd August.

Dr Who exhibition

IMGP7067We went to the Dr Who exhibition at the Kelvingrove Museum on Friday, it was really fun. Unfortunately we managed to be walking to the Kelvingrove at exactly the same time as Glasgow’s heavens decided to open, and got utterly drenched – there was so much rain we just had to laugh, there was no way we wouldn’t get soaked!

The tardis marks the entrance to the exhibition, and I was amused to see a bride having her photos taken by it – they were obviously having their wedding reception at the museum, as later on I saw her and the groom emerging from one of the galleries (the one with Sir Roger the elephant) – I have to say I would *love* to see their wedding photos! (“Me by the Tardis” “Us below the Spitfire” “Us with Elvis” etc).

IMGP7071Anyway back to the exhibition. It’s pretty much all an exhibition of the more recent series – it featured costumes and props from the series featuring Christopher Ecclestone and David Tennant. I think I would have liked to have seen some stuff from earlier series as well, but apart from this touch screen thing where you could see the opening sequence from the Dr Who era of your choice (the one in this photo was from the Tom Baker era) and a poster which featured all the pre-Tennant Doctors, that was it. It took us about 3/4 hour to go through the whole thing, stopping to look and read some exhibits and not spending ages on others.

IMGP7084As well as costumes and models of some of the various baddies and other characters, there were also sections on how they create special effects and on the art and costume designs. I really enjoyed it I must say – it was very clear that the days of wobbly sets and low-budgets are now well and truly over! If you’re a fan I’d say definitely pay it a visit if you can (I think you can buy tickets on the day from the Kelvingrove shop, but probably best to book tickets in advance to make sure).

IMGP7090Once you get through the exhibition you find yourself in the shop, where they have a whole heap of Dr Who tat to buy. I was particularly amused by the inflatable daleks, who, well let’s just say certain bits were a bit flaccid! (I think some Dalek Viagra might be in order!).

Glasgow exhibitions

I went to two exhibitions this week. One was by a friend from church who is a professional artist – details of the exhibition are here and a Sunday Herald interview about the most controversial piece in the exhibition (actually my least favourite of the paintings) is here. The exhibition is only on till Sunday, but if you’re around it’s worth a look. I was glad to see some of the paintings had sold – some of them are really lovely. Sadly they are way out of my price range, so I had to make do spending a couple of quid on a Danish pastry.

The other one was a small exhibition of photographs by Amnesty International. It was very moving – to be honest it was nothing new, as I’ve been following the anti-LGBT stuff in the Moldovan and Romanian media this year, and I had seen some coverage of the Riga march. It just breaks my heart that many of the protesters (whose faces were twisted with hatred) were identified as Christians. Jesus wept.

The exhibition is on till 10th December, at the Q! Gallery on Saltmarket. Again, do go to see it if you get the chance.

Edinburgh

Yesterday saw us heading out to Edinburgh to meet up with some other people from Ship of Fools. It was fun to see people again (nobody new for me to meet, though there were a couple of people that HD hadn’t met before) and catch up. During the lunch there was football on a large screen, showing the first semi-final from this year’s Scottish Cup between Queen of the South (first division) and Aberdeen (from the SPL – Scotland’s equivalent of the Premiership down south). Having bumped into Derf and scz at Queen St station heading for Hampden (he’s an Aberdeen fan) we had half an interest in the match – at one point there were 5 goals in about as many minutes, and the end result was QoS winning 4-3. It’s not often I like having football on while eating, especially with other people, but it was quite exciting.

After lunch we all (apart from Wet Kipper, who’d already been) went along to the Ansel Adams exhibition. He was the leading American landscape photographer, and some of the photos really were stunning. Well worth the visit – though if you’re around Edinburgh and want to go, you’d better hurry up as it closes next weekend. We had thought instead about going to Edinburgh Castle, as this weekend Historic Scotland (the UpNorth equivalent of English National Heritage, for those of you down south) was having a free weekend, and the castle is usually extortionate (though well worth the money). We eventually decided that as it was free it would be heaving, and both of us had been before, and this may be the only chance to see the Ansel Adams photos in this country. I think we made the right choice. As we walked along Princes Street towards the place where the exhibition was, looking up at the castle you could see loads and loads of people on the battlements.

Once we got home we watched a DVD that we’d got as a wedding gift, Rivers and Tides which is about the sculptor Andy Goldsworthy. We both really like his work (he was one of the sculptors whose work we saw at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park on Easter Saturday), and both enjoyed the DVD a lot. Like many artists discussing their work he did occasionally sound a bit Pseud’s Corner, but never in an inaccessible way, and I found I loved his reflections on the processes of working with nature (he works with natural objects – leaves, rocks, ice, trees, bracken, all sorts – many of which are quite vulnerable to the elements and so are sometimes quite ephemeral, though others have a hugeness and solidity about them which is very impressive and awe-inspiring, for me at least). I particularly loved when they showed him at work on a beach and the sculpture he was working on (a cone-shaped cairn) kept collapsing – he talked about how this particular sculpture had collapsed four times, but each time he started again he felt he understood the rocks a bit better, so he was able to build up the sculpture higher each time before it collapsed again. I really loved the thought that the longer you spend getting to know the medium – whatever it is you’re working with – the more you understand it, the more intuitive you become with it. It reminded me of my own work – the interviews and the literature and everything is just the beginning, the more I immerse myself in it the more understanding I gain and the more creative and intuitive I can be. HD has written a similar reflection on his blog, about the same bit of the film, in relation to his line of work (programming) – I think that art at its best can do that, speak the same message in all sorts of different contexts.

And now I’m starting to sound all Pseud’s Corner myself 😀 Anyway – worth a look if you come across it. It’s also beautifully filmed and (I thought) very sensitive and not intrusive – a great way to spend an hour and a half.

Back in the UK

So, some of you on facebook have already noticed I’m back in the UK for my holiday – it’s wonderful to be here, but also very strange – familiar yet not what at all I’ve been used to these last few months. It nearly went pear-shaped though – I was transferring flights at Budapest, but with less than an hour between flights and a queue of transit passengers that was Very Very Long Indeed, I was starting to panic. Fortunately I managed to collar an airport worker who, when she heard I was on the Gatwick flight, whisked me through to the front of the queue (I’m such a VIP) and I got on the plane at the last minute! Phew!

Once in London I met up with HD (hooray!) and we went to the Tate Modern (where we had our first date, actually) and saw the Global Cities exhibition (Tractor Girl has already raved about it, and rightly so, it was excellent – if you get the chance then go, but it’s only on till this weekend). After that I was knackered (I’d got up up at 3.45 Moldova time, which was 1.45 UK time, so by the time we finished at the Tate I’d already been awake 12+ hours and was starting to flag. So we headed over to Paddington (somewhat hindered by the rubbish suitcase that I’d bought in Romania, which has almost fallen apart after only 2 big journeys, and which probably won’t survive another one) and are now back in sarf Wales. I’ve spent the day Greenbelt shopping, talking to the wedding dress shop (the dress has arrived. Unfortunately so have several centimetres on my waist and hips, argh), and catching up with my mum and dad. Tonight we’re eating out with HD’s sister and tomorrow we go to Greenbelt! I can’t wait (though we are massively unprepared and unpacked). See some of you there 😀