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E.A. Dobbs

[- Tramway Glasgow: under threat

Author: from seona reid via Gair Dunlop

Topic: contemporary art menaced by creeping ballet horror
Keywords: venues, threat, campaign , urgent , participate

[ --------------------------------------------- ]

>Dear All,
>Sorry if you have already received this news but its importance
>necessitates as many relevant people being infomed as possible.
>In the last two weeks, Glasgow City Council has announced to its
>staff at Tramway that, pending the outcome of a capital lottery
>application to the Scottish Arts Council, Scottish Ballet will
>relocate its entire operation into the Tramway and Tramway 2, the
>unique large scale exhibition space, will close in order to provide
>Scottish Ballet with a rehearsal studio/workshop space.
>Needless to say there is a high level of concern being expressed not
>only from the Visual Arts community but also from performance
>companies who have used the exhibition space for large scale
>performance works.
>We need to gather together as many people nationally and
>internationally as we can who will, when the moment comes, write to
>Glasgow City Council, Scottish Arts Council, Scottish Ballet and the
>Scottish and UK press. I would be grateful if you could identify
>and/or contact people to let them know of this development and let
>the following people know who they are:
>toby webster
>Francis McKee
>and myself
>I have attached a briefing document and chronology of Tramway
>exhibitions since 1990 to give you an idea of what would be lost.
>Many thanks
>Seona Reid
> Tramway 2 Briefing paper
>Glasgow City Council is proposing that Tramway 2, the unique large
>scale exhibition space on the ground floor, is given to Scottish
>Ballet on a permanent basis as a rehearsal studio. Scottish Ballet
>will move its entire operation into Tramway and a capital lottery
>application is being submitted to the Scottish Arts Council for an
>October deadline to support the conversion of disused Tramway
>stables into office and other accommodation for the Company. The
>current performance activity in Tramway 1 and the workshop activity
>in the stables will continue unchanged. Only the visual arts space
>is proposed for this fundamental change of purpose. The Tramway
>staff were informed of this last week.
>There has been no consultation about this and the proposal is at
>odds with Glasgow City Council1⁄4s own visual arts strategy published
>in January 2001 which was the subject of consultation. That document
>identifies the future of Tramway as part of a ?citywide contemporary
>art strategy for emerging, mid-career and established artists3⁄4 That
>document goes on to describe Tramway in the following terms:
Glasgow is
>acknowledged to be one of the most important cities in Europe for
>the production of art and Tramway is an essential and irreplaceable
>element within that visual arts ecology.
>Scottish Ballet is ŚScottish Opera/ Scottish Ballet1⁄4 ? legally one
>company with one board. The Chief Executive is Christopher Barron
>and the Ballet Director is Ashley Page. Ashley Page has been
>appointed to regenerate the ballet company after a period of decline
>in artistic standards and has re-shaped the Company over the last
>year during which time the company has not performed. It makes its
>debut performance at Tramway 1 on October 2, 2003.
>Arguments Against What is Proposed
>÷ Glasgow (and Scotland) has an international reputation of the
>highest order for contemporary visual arts.
>÷ Tramway 2 is a key part of the visual arts ecology- does not only
>exhibit but also commissions.
>÷ It is the only space in Scotland where both locally based and
>international artists can work on a monumental scale.
>÷ It has launched careers of major Scottish based artists now
>working internationally and has brought international artists to
>Scottish audiences
>÷ It attracts international curators to work in Glasgow
>÷ It attracts major press and media coverage which enhances
>Glasgow1⁄4s reputation as a cultural and creative city.
>÷ Since Tramway's re-launch in June 2000, the venue has presented 13
>major exhibitions presenting the work of over 100 artists of
>international standing. These exhibitions have often shown work by
>artists who have not exhibited previously in the UK and, in many
>cases, have presented new work which was specifically produced for
>exhibition at Tramway.
>÷ Tramway is unique and irreplaceable. A dance rehearsal space just
>needs to be large, warm and with a sprung wooden floor ? it could be
recently at Tramway

>Trust International show including Marina Abramovitch and Ulay,
>Maria Eichorn, Willy Doherty, Stan Douglas etc
>Stephanie Smith
>and Edward Stewart Solo Show
>Alan Sekula Fish Story
>Jason Bowman Untitled (The Diary of Anne Frank)
>Yoshiko Kamikura Interior/After Shooting
>Marina Abramovitch Performances 1976-1988
>Highlights of the international programme at Tramway since re- launch in 2000:
>The group exhibition Mirror's Edge - Tramway was the only UK venue for the
>Show and the only venue in Scotland that was able to house a wide
>range of work (including large scale sculptural work, installations
>and projections) by 27
>leading international artists. The show was curated by Okwui Enwezor: an
>international curator responsible for Documenta in 2002 (major art event
>in Kassel every 2 years). This exhibition brought new work, some
>produced at Tramway specifically for the space, by leading international
>artists such as Thomas Hirschhorn, Steve McQueen and Thomas Demand.

>The solo exhibition of Swiss artist Pipilotti Rist in 2001 included
>a commission for
>new work for Tramway 2. This was the artist1⁄4s first solo exhibition
>in the UK for several years.
>?When I first approached her gallery in Zurich I was told that she
>receives on average up to 50 invitations for shows worldwide a week
>- she agreed to do this exhibition as she knew of Tramway's
>reputation and wanted to work in the space.3⁄4 Alexia Holt
>Greyscale/CMYK: group show profiling work of artists from the Nordic
>countries - 40 artists showing in Tramway 2 within an architecture
>designed specifically for the space by international architectural
>Cave, by the Finnish artist Salla Tykka in 2002/2003. Tramway commissioned
>The third and final film in a trilogy of works, the first of which was
>internationally praised following exhibition at the Venice Biennale in 2001
>Tramway's 'international pulling power' extends beyond the artists.
>It has been able to attract leading international curators to
>produce shows for Tramway - Enwezor, Andrew Renton and Ami Barak -
>Ami Barak is organising a major show with 30 international artists
>for April 2004; he currently works as the man responsible for
>contemporary art projects in Paris. He agreed to do this show as,
>for him, Tramway is a 'mythical space' . When such individuals visit
>Tramway they also make contacts here, see the work produced by
>Glasgow artists etc.

Specifically, it still has the tramlines which are
>listed, as is Tramway as a whole. Ballet rehearsal spaces need to be
>warm, clean and have space for dance/jumps- but the volume of T2 is
>(one assumes) a bit more than is necessary and would probably need
>to be divided. The pillars could not be removed. To accommodate
>dance, however, the tramlines would have to be covered up and sprung
>floor installed. Thus a piece of Glasgow1⁄4s heritage is removed from
>public access.
>Scottish Ballet has been looking for new accommodation for some
>time - starting with a proposal to develop the site at Eddington St
>(Dundas Vale) beside the Scottish Opera storage and workshop space
>some years ago. This apparently proved to be too expensive an
>option. Apparently, there is enough space in the undeveloped areas
>within Tramway for Scottish Ballet to have office, technical and
>studio space (for class). The use of T2 is to provide them with a
>rehearsal space for full scale work, a facility they have not had in
>the past.
>Why Tramway?
>Scottish Ballet may need to move from its dilapidated building in
>West Princes St but to squeeze out another (internationally
>renowned) artform and replace it with rehearsal space is impossible
>to justify
>Ashley Page is charged with rescuing Scottish Ballet . He has
>ambition for Scottish Ballet which must be applauded but as yet it
>is completely untried and tested. The visual arts in Glasgow, on the
>other hand, are ? here and now - internationally recognised and
>Tramway is seen by curators, press, artists and museum directors
>across the world as a unique and indispensable showcase.
>There is only one Tramway 2. It is unique amongst contemporary art
>spaces in Scotland. In contrast, it must be possible to find
>office, technical and rehearsal space for Scottish Ballet elsewhere
>which does not demand the closure of T2.
>September 17 2002

[ --------------------------------------------- ]

Submitted by gairdunlop
Posted on Fri Sep 19, 2003 at 1:03 AM EURODISCORDIA TIME

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