Artists using archives: ‘A Feminist Chorus’ by Lucy Reynolds in collaboration with MAP

Illustrated Woman's Almanac, Lippincott Company, 1976. Courtesy Glasgow Women's Library Collection

Illustrated Woman’s Almanac, Lippincott Company, 1976. Courtesy Glasgow Women’s Library Collection

One film, two sound works & one performance across three Glasgow venues from 4 to 21 April 2014

Adding a communal voice to Glasgow’s feminist history, ‘A Feminist Chorus’ is created by Lucy Reynolds in collaboration with MAP. Reynolds is interested in the collective power of the Women’s Movement, (with Greenham Common as the subject of her film installation ‘Silo Walk’, 2009) tracing it on this occasion through the spaces, writings and memories of the city.

The chorus will feature readings from Glasgow School of Art’s student registers from the late 19th and early 20th centuries

The full spoken word score for the chorus brings together three connected narratives of women’s histories in Glasgow for a one-off live performance at Glasgow Women’s Library (GWL) in Bridgeton during the launch weekend of Glasgow International. Drawing on the collection of GWL and the city’s archives, it includes personal texts, readings of historic registers from Glasgow School of Art (GSA) and Blythswood Square, and extracts from historic and contemporary writings. Participants have been invited from a wide community across Glasgow. A film of this performance will be sited among the books in the library for the duration of Glasgow International to become thereafter part of the archive, so creating a legacy of the event, which will find new resonances beyond Glasgow, in libraries and women’s resources centres across the UK.

Two separate sound installations are sited within five minutes walk of each other in city centre locations historically connected with working women artists over the past 100 years. The first installation is sited at Glasgow School of Art in the ‘Hen Run’ (reflecting the predominance of women students in the adjacent studios) and is based on the names of women students from the school’s early years in the 1880s, brought forth in the voices of contemporary GSA students. The other installation is sited at 5 Blythswood Square, a luxury office which was from 1882 to 1971 home to the Glasgow Society of Lady Artists. In a telephone booth there—designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh for the Lady artists in the 1890s—the Society’s unique programmes of exhibitions, tableaux and soirees will be remembered in the recitations of current women artists working in Glasgow.

Lucy Reynolds works as an artist, curator and academic explores the questions of feminism, political space and collectivity through a practice of film, performance and sound – which often invites and involves others. Her films and performances seek to excavate the rich seams of memory and experience inscribed in sites of a feminist resonance: from Greenham Common to the Glasgow Women’s Library, bringing these pasts into a contemporary register through the collective voice and memories of current day women. She is interested in the potential of creative collaboration for generating new ways of making art, and re-imagining what a feminist practice might be in the future.

MAP publish artist writing, film, video, performance, audio and readings, alongside interviews, conversations and critical essays. Working across on-and offline situations, MAP curates an expanded site for re-examining and developing practices of active looking, reading, creating and sharing. We regularly commission and distribute new work online and programme concurrent events.

Exhibition and Performance
Glasgow Women’s Library
23 Landressy Street
Glasgow, G40 1BP
Exhibition 4 to 21 April—Mon to Fri, 9.30am to 5pm, Tues 9.30am to 7.30pm
Performance—Sat 5 April, 5 to 6pm
To book

Sound work at the Glasgow School of Art, 4 to 21 April
‘Hen Run’
167 Renfrew Street
Glasgow, G3 6RQ
20 minute tours leave daily at 12.15pm and 4.15pm
To book

Sound work at 5 Blythswood Square, 4 to 17 April
Glasgow, G2 4AD
Mon—Fri 11:00—11:50am, 3:00—3:50pm
Ten minute appointments with max 2 people per booking

To book

For more information on this project, including a full biography on the artist, please contact or

Gerard Murphy’s anatomy and life drawings

An anatomy drawing by Gerard Murphy currently on display in GSA Library caught the eye of one of GSA’s Continuing Education tutors. Inspired by what was on display she and a few others made an appointment to view his other anatomy drawings and his life drawings.

Gerard Murphy was a student at Glasgow School of Art in the 1930s. Following his studies at the Art School, he went on to be an art teacher in several schools near Glasgow.  The Archives and Collections Centre has recently been gifted his student material, including architectural sketches, life studies and several anatomy drawings.

Life drawing by Gerard Murphy, GSA student, 1930s

Life drawing by Gerard Murphy, GSA student, 1930s

Another life drawing by Gerard Murphy - notice the life model is the life model in the photograph below!

Another life drawing by Gerard Murphy – notice the life model is the life model in the photograph below!

While browsing through the sketches we recognised the life model as being the same life model who appears in some of the photographs in our collection!

GSAA/P/1/851 Students with life model (centre), 1930s

GSAA/P/1/851 Students with life model (centre), 1930s

However the star of the show was definitely Murphy’s sketch of one of the School’s plaster casts which had our visitors in absolute awe:

Gerard Murphy's drawing of GSA's cast of Michelangelo's Slave

Gerard Murphy’s drawing of GSA’s cast of Michelangelo’s Slave

For more information on the history of Anatomy drawing at GSA and our current display in GSA Library read our PDF guide Anatomy at GSA, and if you’d like to come and see the sketches for yourself, do get in touch.

Moving the Crouching Venus

At the beginning of this week the Crouching Venus from GSA’s plaster cast collection was transported over to The Hunterian Art Gallery at the University of Glasgow for their ‘Picturing Venus’ exhibition (9 March 29 June 2014).

Whilst a seemingly simple task, enormous care had to be taken whilst transporting the piece between the two sites due to the fragility of the sculpture. The sculpture first had to be removed from its plinth and wrapped by art transporters, who then used a specialist trolley to lower it to the ground and move the Venus outside.


The sculpture was then driven over to The Hunterian Art Gallery to be installed as the centrepiece of ‘Picturing Venus’, a focused exhibition between The Hunterian and Glasgow University’s History of Art department that presents new research examining the occurrence of Venus’s image in art and the myths associated with her.

GSA’s Crouching Venus is believed to be a copy of the Crouching Venus in the Uffizi Gallery, Florence where it was taken in 1787. Also known as the Venere nel bagno and Vernere nella conchigla this version of the figure (of which there are a large number of versions with significant variations) is first defiantly recorded in 1704 when it was at the Villa Medici in Rome. All versions are thought to be copies of a statue referred to by Pliny as being by Doidalses and placed in one of the temples of the Portico d’Ottavia in Rome.

By the time the sculpture arrived at the exhibition space, the engravings from The Hunterian’s collection had already been hung. Therefore it was only a matter of unpacking and installing the plinth and cast.

The cast sits away from the wall, so the Crouching Venus can be seen in her entirety. New facets to the sculpture have already been discovered in the impression of a tiny hand on her back, mirroring the touch of the cherubs in the engravings on the walls. The low light of the room (for the preservation of the engravings) with spot lighting also enhances the shadows and depth of form in the sculpture.

 Picturing Venus runs from 9th March- 29th June in The Hunterian Art Gallery, at the University of Glasgow.

 Guest blog post by Penelope Hines, MSc Museum Studies student placement, The University of Glasgow 

Remembered/Imagined: New works inspired by the archive of The School of Scottish Studies

Presenting seven of Scotland’s creative artists as you’ve never seen them before…

Traditional musicians and composers Amble Skuse, Ailie Robertson and Mike Vass have teamed up with writers Angus Peter Campbell, Sophie Cooke, Rebecca Sharp and Charlotte Murray to create new works of music and words inspired by the archive of Scottish cultural treasures, The School of Scottish Studies. It is a treasure trove of recordings of songs, music, tales, verse, customs, beliefs and oral history. Hear them retold and reimagined through the creative collaboration of some of the country’s leading artists. Scotland’s past in the present.

The premiere concerts take place in 2014 performed by singer Maeve Mackinnon and Mr McFall’s Chamber, an ensemble with a reputation for their eclecticism and performances of unusual and exciting music.

Four new works have been specially commissioned for this tour and are interwoven with beautiful traditional repertoire, creating an hour’s performance that captures the riches of our cultural history through music and words with live instrumental, vocal and electronic sound. Featuring a world premiere performance by the Edinburgh Youth Gaitherin’.

Supported by Creative Scotland, PRSF Women Make Music, The Robertson Trust. In partnership with The School of Scottish Studies Archive at the University of Edinburgh, Hands Up For Trad.

Wed 12 Mar 2014, 19:30-20:40, Ticket Price: £10/£5 at Summerhall Main Hall, 1 Summerhall, Edinburgh, EH9 1PL

For more information see the event Facebook page or the event website. To book, visit the Summerhall website or call 0845 874 3001.