Our new website and online catalogue launches today!

Today we’re thrilled to announce the launch of a new website and online catalogue for our holdings.

This is an exciting step for the Archives and Collections. By making our collections more accessible online, we hope to promote our magnificent holdings and facilitate the use of our archives and museum objects by both GSA staff and students as well as external users for the purposes of learning, teaching and research. This project has been kindly supported by Museums Galleries Scotland.

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Our main aim has been to make the catalogue as user-friendly as possible. We understand that academic users generally require detailed descriptions and information on, for example, how access to originals, copies and copyright,and in that sense the catalogue is still very traditional. However we are also aware that creative practitioners, who make up a significant proportion of our users, really appreciate the ability to browse and quite often rely on serendipity to find inspiration for their work, therefore, wherever possible, we have tried to include images alongside records, opening up a treasure trove of beautiful items to the public.

To browse images of our holdings, simply click on one of the 8 categories on our homepage.

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Alternatively you can also search by keyword on our catalogue.

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Our new website also includes user case studies and new subject-based archive resource guides, as well as a brand new format for our blog, so please remember to hop on over to our new blog and subscribe for updates. This current blog will disappear shortly.

Textiles    Vis Comm

As a result of the fire which occurred in the Mackintosh Building earlier this year, physical access to our collections is limited and we are sadly currently unable to welcome researchers to our searchroom, so providing virtual access to our collections has become even more vital at this time.

We’ll keep you updated on our progress and will be posting all week about the features of the website and online catalogue, so stay tuned. Happy browsing!

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An Update on the Archives and Collections

The Mackintosh BuildingSix months on from the Mackintosh Building fire, The Glasgow School of Art Archives and Collections team are now able to provide more detailed information about how this event has affected the School’s extensive archives and collections.

Our holdings, which comprise a wide range of material from the GSA’s institutional archive, artworks and architectural drawings, textiles, plasters casts, photographs and furniture, did suffer some loss and damage as previously reported. However since the 23rd May we have worked to assess and stabilise the collections, put in place conservation plans, and started our thinking for the collections’ future, securing its role as a key learning and research resource for the GSA, academics worldwide and the wider public.

We can confirm that the majority of our paper archives and artworks on paper, including 100 works by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, were unharmed by the fire. A small percentage of the paper archives suffered water damage, but these items have either been air dried or frozen and are now stabilised.

Our textile collections suffered some water damage. However, items have now been air dried, stabilised and conservation work, where appropriate, will commence in due course.

The GSA’s large collection of plaster casts has also survived, although many pieces have suffered smoke and water damage. Plans are now being developed to conserve and restore these pieces.

Items from our Mackintosh furniture collection which were in use in the Mackintosh Library or held in the store above this space were either destroyed or very badly damaged by the fire. Fragments of furniture and fittings are already being recovered from the Mackintosh Library as part of the forensic archaeology work currently underway (click here to watch a clip of GSA’s Academic Liaison Librarian Duncan Chappell talk about this). Many of our most important pieces were on display in the Furniture Gallery and Mackintosh Room in the east wing of the building and were therefore unaffected by the fire. In the early part of 2015 some of these pieces will be brought out of storage and returned to public view. We’ll have more details about this in the new year.

Almost all the oil paintings on canvas in the School’s collection were stored above the Library and were therefore also sadly destroyed.

All of the surviving material is now stable and secure. It will be reviewed by expert conservators as part of a recovery programme which will take place over the next three years.

Tonight! In Conversation: Lucy Reynolds & Sarah Neely on ‘A Feminist Chorus’

MAPLUCY REYNOLDS: A FEMINIST CHORUS, APRIL—NOVEMBER 2014
A FEMINIST CHORUS FILM INSTALLATION, 7 NOV—7 DEC, PLATFORM, GLASGOW
TALK: SARAH NEELY + LUCY REYNOLDS, TUE 25 NOV, 6—7.30PM, GLASGOW WOMEN’S LIBRARY

Find out more about Lucy’s use of Glasgow School of Art’s archives on our previous post

Calling all Russian speakers!

The catalogue for the Mackintosh exhibition, The Kremlin Museum

The catalogue for the Mackintosh exhibition, The Kremlin Museum

Glasgow School of Art’s curator Peter Trowles, or Питер Троулес, as he is known in Russian, has recently returned from a trip to Moscow where he gave a lecture on the architecture of Mackintosh’s masterpiece The Glasgow School of Art, as part of an international Mackintosh exhibition at The Kremlin Museum. Crucially, this was first time Mackintosh’s work has been seen in Moscow since 1903. The exhibition included works loaned from around the world, including many from Glasgow Museums. Sadly as a result of the fire that occurred in the Mackintosh Building earlier this year we were no longer able to loan works to this exhibition as planned, however Peter was still able to visit the exhibition, which has also seen the publication of a beautiful catalogue (see above) – unfortunately only available in Russian – and to give his lecture as part of a series of talks by British Mackintosh experts.

Glasgow School of Art's Curator Peter Trowles prepares for his Russian screen debut

Glasgow School of Art’s Curator Peter Trowles prepares for his Russian screen debut

During his time in Moscow, in a surreal twist to proceedings Peter appeared on the Russian equivalent of Newsnight to speak about the School’s Mackintosh collection and the relationship between Mackintosh and the city of Glasgow. You can watch a video of Peter’s debut on Russian television here – though sadly it’s been dubbed so will only make sense to those of you who can speak Russian! We’re sure however that what Peter had to say was very interesting…

You can find out more about the exhibition, which ran from 5th Sep 2014-9th Nov 2014, here.

Getting in Touch: Fred Pollock

We were recently contacted by a relative of Glasgow School of Art alumnus Fred Pollock, who was a student at the School in the 1950s. Ronan Pollock (Fred’s son) very kindly sent us a link to a short documentary film he has made about his father called Portrait of an Abstract Artist. The documentary gives an insight into the work of Fred Pollock, and perspective on what it was like to be an art student in Glasgow in the 1950s.

Fred Pollock, No.1 Sunspots, 150×232 cm, Acrylic on Canvas, 1987-1998.

Fred Pollock, No.1 Sunspots, 150×232 cm, Acrylic on Canvas, 1987-1998. Image sourced from ‘Abstract Critical’.

While we were aware of artists like John Byrne and Alasdair Gray who were students at the School around this time, and have annual reports, prospectuses and other documentation for these years which provide a flavour of what the School was like then, we don’t have very much in the way of artwork in our collection from this period so it’s exciting to see examples of Fred Pollock’s work in the film. We also know little about what the School was like in terms of its relationship with Glasgow more widely during this period, so it’s interesting to get a sense of the juxtaposition between art and the industrial landscape that must have been so apparent in the city at this time.

You can find Portrait of an Abstract Artist here.

For more information please go to Abstract Critical.

A Festival of Museums – ‘Words and Deeds: An Evening with Artists Hugh Buchanan’

Coming soon to the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow an evening with Hugh Buchanan ‘Words and Deeds’. Hugh Buchanan is an artist that has worked on commissions for the House of Commons, National Trust and Prince of Wales and is coming to Glasgow as part of the Festival of Museums to discuss his interest in these institutions, their contents and how they can influence his work. Bring along your sketchbooks or simply go and enjoy the art collections avaiable at the College.

Words and Deeds

Words and Deeds

The Festival of Museums is a three day annual occassion that allows people to explore the different museums and galleries of Scotland through unique events. Starting on the 16th May and finishing on the 18th, this festival features over 90 events including exhibitions, performances and workshops for the entire family that give a unique look at the collections of Glasgow. For more information please click here.

An ‘Uneasy Balance’.

Now that the Reid Building has opened, architects, and the public alike, will finally get a chance to look inside the building and see whether or not this space works as an art school. At the recent screening of ‘Facing Up to Mackintosh’ a discussion between Stuart MacDonald and David Reid highlighted the need to examine the interior of the building and its merits alongisde that of the exterior (seek out #artscreen on twitter for some of the comments reflecting the reception of this event and documentary).

Outside The Reid and The Mackintosh Building on opening day.

Outside The Reid and The Mackintosh Building on opening day

Even before its completion The Reid Building had succeeded in sparking a lively discussion around its merits and potential detractors, a discussion that is likely to continue as it settles into its new home.

One of the 'Driven Void' columns inside The Reid Building.

One of the ‘Driven Void’ columns inside The Reid Building.

The GSA’s own Johnny Rodger and Christopher Platt have added to this debate with their published articles in ‘Uneasy Balance’, and ‘Putting Hall and Mackintosh in multi-perspective: the new building at the Glasgow School of Art’ in the Architectural Research Quarterly Journal, by Johnny Rodgers.

'Uneasy Balance' Front Cover

‘Uneasy Balance’ Front Cover

This book contains four essays in total and an interview with Steven holl discussing the design concept and some of his working practices. Included are some specially commissioned photographs as well as sketches and drawings that can only help enhance an understanding of the process behind this buildings creation. This book is available from the GSA Mackintosh Building Shop for £15, and is now available in the GSA library for perusal for anyone wishing to investigate the creative process and intial reception of this space.

Second floor of The Reid Building

Second floor of The Reid Building

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 alice@mapmagazine.co.uk or laura@mapmagazine.co.uk

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.