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Social Sculpture: The Rise of the Glasgow Art Scene [Paperback]

Dr Sarah Lowndes
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

9 Aug 2010
Social Sculpture explains the phenomenon described by the curator Hans Ulrich Obrist as 'The Glasgow Miracle' through detailed analysis of the city's predominantly self-organised and autonomous arts infrastructure and interviews with the people who made it happen. This fully revised and updated edition of the first and only book to chart the emergence of the Glasgow art scene draws upon over 60 original interviews with Glasgow writers, curators, artists and musicians, including Turner Prize winners Douglas Gordon, Richard Wright and Martin Boyce and Turner Prize nominees Christine Borland, Cathy Wilkes and Luke Fowler, curators Will Bradley, Katrina Brown, Charles Esche and Toby Webster and musicians Stuart Braithewaite (Mogwai), Aidan Moffat (Arab Strap) and Optimo DJ Keith McIvor.

Product details

  • Paperback: 444 pages
  • Publisher: Luath Press Ltd (9 Aug 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1906817596
  • ISBN-13: 978-1906817596
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 21.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 284,326 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dr. Sarah Lowndes is a writer and curator who lectures in the Forum for Critical Inquiry at Glasgow School of Art, where her research focuses on artist-led projects, interdisciplinary and performance-related practice and contemporary art. She has contributed to Frieze, Artforum, Art on Paper, Untitled, MAP, Spike Art Quarterly and Afterall, and to catalogues including Richard Wright (2009), Botanical Vaudeville: Robert Rauschenberg (2011) and Dieter Roth: Diaries (2012). A revised and expanded second edition of her book Social Sculpture: The Rise of the Glasgow Art Scene was published by The Luath Press in 2010. Her curatorial projects include Three Blows, a weekend of experimental acoustic performance by visual artists/musicians (St. Cecilia's Hall, Edinburgh, 2008), the symposium Subject in Process: Feminism and Art (2009) and Votive, (CCA, Glasgow, 2009), all-women performance event Urlibido (Glasgow International, 2010), the sculpture park Dialogue of Hands (Glasgow International, 2012) and Studio 58: Women Artists in Glasgow Since WWII (Mackintosh Museum, Glasgow, 2012). Her fiction writing has appeared in 2HB, Prawn's Pee and From Glasgow to Saturn and will be included in the forthcoming New Work Scotland (2013).

Product Description


Lowndes has created a veritable bible... a fascinating social history. --Moira Jeffrey, The Herald

Perceptively attuned to the aesthetics idiosyncratic to Glasgow. --Neil Mulholland, Frieze

... a fascinating study of the music and visual scene in Glasgow. --Sukhdev Saandhli, The New Satesman

About the Author

Dr. Sarah Lowndes is a lecturer, curator and writer based in Glasgow. Lowndes lectures in the Historical and Critical Studies Department at Glasgow School of Art, where her research focuses on artist-led projects, interdisciplinary and performance-related practice and contemporary art. She has contributed to publications including 'Frieze', 'Art on Paper', 'Spike Art Quarterly' and 'Afterall'.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Lownde's book, now in it's updated second edition, successfully captures the small serial events that are often at the heart of the glasgow art experience. Given the sheer number of such events and their elusiveness, this is quite an achievement. For once, the realities of a grassroots art scene come to the fore rather than the mainstream official histories that we are all used to now.

This book is vital if you're interested in the recent history of glasgow's art production but it has a broader appeal too for anyone interested in the ways in which small events accumulate into something important whether in music, art or contemporary inner city life. It puts most art histories to shame by focusing democratically on a broad spread of artists rather than reheat a tired version of 'landmark events'.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Social Sculpture: an invaluable resource 13 May 2013
By Adele P
Social Sculpture is an invaluable text for anyone interested to know about the alternative arts scene in Glasgow. Since it was first published it has only become more relevant, charting as it does the germination of a unique milieu for artists, writers and musicians and is the best survey of the components that collectively have been more recently dubbed 'The Glasgow Miracle'. The author writes with flair and has done a comprehensive job in talking to all the key figures in the field. Heartily recommended as a research tool, an inspiring survey and a really good read! I use this continually to orientate as each Turner Prize is announced and the latest new band emerges from Glasgow.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars it maybe worth a read? 20 Feb 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have to qualify that I have no academic credentials. So for me with limited capacity to comprehend I declare the book (as far as I have read) a tedious account of Glasgow's developing contemporary art scene as journeyed from the inevitable industrial foundations into a detailed account of activities, movements and associated identifications of people and places. A record in part interesting and potentially relevant but dispersed with seemingly trivial even inane references of activities unconvincingly amplified to attain academic prowess. There is a gulf between 'ordinary' man/woman's attempt to appreciate contemporary art and the academics who are able, understandably to manage 'their' exclusive realm. if your 'dead clever' it maybe worth a read?
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