The Glasgow Reject

Modern Art has always had its fair share of criticisms. Yet what can we say is the root cause of the outrage? Is it the controversy of the piece, the money used to produce it or is it to do with class? The privileged arts student versus the working class busker. One persons struggle might be anothers inspiration. What makes art right or wrong?

Take the recent Ellie Harrison debacle. The artist currently working on a project in which they can only work, live, socialise, etc in Greater Glasgow. People are actually taking part in a petition right now to take her grant away. What if they revoke it? Does that mean whenever someone doesn’t like an artist or project they can petition for the work to be disbanded? People campaign for freedom of speech but whatever happened to freedom of expression?

Harrison aside, we need bad art (bare with me). Modern art is a fantastic series of the creative genre. It makes us question what it’s trying to portray, for good or bad, it gets people talking. It can make us aware of political, social and economical issues. It can play on our emotions - look at the Chapman brothers for their delightfully grotesque and terrorising works which often boot their agenda in our faces. Whether you love a piece or hate it you are made to question it and your feelings towards it.

Subject of art aside, did anyone who complained about the funding look at any of the other candidates in the past? Did they even take time to look at Harrison’s past projects? Why was the public so keen to jump on this particular story, was it because of class? Nationalism? Gender?

What makes us so outraged by something we normally don’t take in to account?

Creative Scotland, like most grant awarding bodies, have to go by the guidelines of their registrations. If we decide as the public to fight for our right to pick and chose who is deserving and who isn’t then we’ve lost art forever. We’ve lost our rights to enjoy art work or be outraged. Outrage is good, passion is a running feature in most art.

Give (an art piece) a chance. Visit more galleries, take part in more debates, create yourself. There’s nothing more beautiful.


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