On a wet Saturday afternoon the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) in Glasgow is always a refuge point to shelter from the rain. Recently I visited a short term exhibition, as part of a larger installation, by the artist Anna Henderson. The paintings on display were laid out in grids in the floor, inviting people to look down on them as opposed to the traditional method of viewing painted art. For me the look on the young child’s face summed up the larger installation which was allowing this smaller exhibition though I doubt he will even be aware as to why this exhibition was running at all.
Hosted by Glasgow’s Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA) the larger installation is an exhibition entitled “This exhibition has been cancelled”. It is held within the empty room 1 exhibition space with 21 billboards pronouncing the exhibition’s cancellation. It is actually the work of the artist Marlie Mul. The GoMA website says that “By removing what would traditionally be considered an art object we are presenting the gallery as empty space, giving us a moment to question the value in turning over exhibition after exhibition after exhibition,” and calling the show “an amazing opportunity.”
The show asks visitors to consider alternative uses for the space during the five month duration of the exhibit and other artists have applied and been accepted to to show their own art in the space. GoMA has described the “conceptual gesture” as an “implicit critique of what is displayed within museums and galleries” that “question[s] the relevance of an art exhibition in 2017. Some of these exhibits by other artists are on display for a matter of days before being replaced with other exhibitions or activities.
Curator of Contemporary Art at GoMA Will Cooper 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. Perhaps GoMA and, by extension, other museums and galleries would be better placed as a space for another kind of activity?