Open Meeting 2012 - Event Highlights
The 2012 Open Meeting was held on Tuesday 6 March and repeated on Thursday 28 March. These evening events took place in the Weston Link at the Scottish National Gallery and both were very well attended by members of the public. The purpose of our Open Meetings is to celebrate successes of the previous 12 months and look forward to what the coming year has in store. The 2012 Open Meetings began with presentations in the Hawthornden Lecture Theatre. A summary of these is given below and the slides used at the events can be downloaded from the link on the right of this page.
John Leighton, Director-General of the National Galleries of Scotland, highlighted a few of NGS’ major achievements over the previous 12 months. The Portrait of the Nation project to transform the Scottish National Portrait Gallery has been a monumental success, with a remarkable 135,000 visitors in the three months since opening on 1 December 2011. The recent acquisition of Diana and Callisto in partnership with the National Gallery in London was a significant coup for NGS. The ARTIST ROOMS project remains a key strand of our work and programme: an exhibition of Robert Mapplethorpe photographs had opened in Dunoon only days before the first Open Meeting. Other notable acquisitions in 2011/12 included Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh’s Mysterious Garden and an untitled photograph from the series Brave Ones by Zwelethu Mthethwa.
Gallery directors and senior curatorial staff provided an overview of upcoming exhibitions including the summer blockbusters Van Gogh to Kandinsky: Symbolist Landscape in Europe 1880-1910 at the Scottish National Galleryand Picasso and Modern British Art at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. Exciting new displays at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery will include Farmscapes by Stuart Franklin and Roderick Buchanan’s Legacy.
Tricia Allerston, Head of Education, recapped on the full programme of education activity which has accompanied the reopening of the Portrait Gallery, showcasing the great new facilities at that site. She also emphasised the continuing education work with ARTIST ROOMS and the ongoing success of, and commitment to, the children’s art competition. With regard to outreach work, the recent project Silver City Soul in Aberdeen was highlighted and an exciting trailer for the upcoming The Nation project was shown.
The Chair of the Board of Trustees, Ben Thomson, concluded the presentation by setting NGS’ achievements in a national context and setting out key aims and projects for NGS going forward. Attendees were then invited to pose questions to the speakers. These included queries on where NGS publishes information on expenditure, why the Dean Gallery had become Modern Two (asked at both sessions!), why Scottish art isn’t regularly toured abroad, how exhibitions are chosen and scheduled, what happened to the audio guides that used to be available, which works NGS would like to add to the collection and if the gallery bus would ever be reintroduced.
Following the presentations attendees were invited to visit an ‘expo’ set up especially for the Open Meetings to showcase behind-the-scenes work at the Galleries, with a focus on the complex and remarkable installation of the latest ARTIST ROOMS display at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Sol leWitt’s Wall Drawing #1136. You can view the video documenting this installation here. There were also stands dedicated to our education, publishing and research activity, as well as information about the Friends membership scheme. On the first evening, guests were able to take part in a curator-led tour of the beautiful Red Chalk: Raphael to Ramsay display. Refreshments were provided after the presentations by the Scottish Cafe and Restaurant.
The NGS Open Meeting is a biennial event open to everyone with an interest in the work of the National Galleries of Scotland. If you wish to be kept informed of future events, you can follow us on Twitter @NatGalleriesSco, like us on Facebook or sign up to our ebulletin.