Glasgow International 2018: New Library Display

Art lovers, it’s time to get your diary out and set some time aside for the bi-annual event that is Glasgow International!

From the 20th of April until the 7th of May 2018, 268 artists will exhibit in 90 exhibitions across 78 venues – that’s a significant amount of art to take in! GSA’s Reid Building will host an exhibit called “War of the Corners” by Torsten Lauschmann which you can find out about here. Click here for a full list of artists exhibiting in Glasgow International, as well as for further information about the event.

Our latest library display…

In the spirit of things, The Glasgow School of Art’s Learning Resources department have put a display together at GSA Library using material from the Library, Archives and Collections. The display relates to five GSA alumni who took part in the first Glasgow International; Steven Campbell, Adrian Wisniewski, John Byrne, Alasdair Gray and Alexander Moffat. The Archives and Collections portion of the display comprises of the following list. Match the numbers on the list to those in the gallery above!

  1. A news cutting about Steven Campbell (GSAA/NEW/1/2 “C”)
  2. A contact sheet of photographs of John Byrne (DC 066/2/58)
  3. An illustrated letter of congratulations to GSA from John Byrne (DC 027)
  4. “Afternoon at Nico’s” by Alexander Moffat (NMC/1444)
  5. 2 x Photographs of Alasdair Gray’s work, one is shown above (GSAA/P/2 Ceramics and Painting)
  6. Correspondence about these photographs being used by the BBC (GSAA/DIR/12/1/19/8)
  7. Steven Campbell “Fake Ophelia” (NMC/1614)
  8. Adrian Wisniewski Screen print from D & P department accession (JAC/149)


Also displayed are several fascinating book titles from GSA Library, including:

  1. John Byrne’s The Slab Boys Trilogy, London, 2003

The three plays which make up the Slab Boys trilogy are: ‘The Slab Boys’, ‘Cuttin’ a Rug’, and ‘Still Life’. The trilogy was originally known as Paisley Patterns and tells the story of a group of young, urban, working-class Scots, working in a carpet factory (A F Stobo & Co. of Paisley), during the period 1957–1972. The fictional carpet company is based on Stoddard’s carpet factory in Elderslie near Paisley, where John Byrne himself worked both as a slab boy, grinding paints, and later as a designer following graduation from art school.

  1. Lanark, Alasdair Gray, Edinburgh 2001

Lanark, Alasdair Gray’s first novel, is one of his most acclaimed works. It was published in 1981 and written over a period of almost 30 years. It is now regarded as a classic, and was described by The Guardian as “one of the landmarks of 20th-century fiction.”

  1. New Image Glasgow– catalogue for a show featuring Stephen Campbell and Adrian Wisniewski, Third Eye Centre, 1985

New Image Glasgow was a seminal exhibition at Glasgow’s Third Eye Centre in 1985. It was curated by Alexander Moffat and is regarded as an exemplar in how a non-metropolitan centre can promote art and culture on the international stage. In this exhibition Moffat presented Campbell and other Glasgow artists as a ‘New Scottish School’.

Now for a little history on Glasgow International and the artists in question…

Glasgow International was established in 2005 and was curated by Francis McKee of the Centre for Contemporary Art. Now thirteen years later, it is Scotland’s biggest contemporary art festival.

Glasgow is known for its unique and distinctive artistic practice and has been described by The Guardian as having the “most developed arts scene outside London”. The festival aims to encourage communication between locally and internationally based artists and audiences and broaden the arts experience across the city by showing work in both traditional and non-traditional settings.

Steven Campbell (1953-2007) studied Drawing & Painting at The Glasgow School of Art, graduating in 1982 with a Fulbright Scholarship which he used to travel to New York. His first solo show was held at the Barbara Toll Gallery in 1983, and he quickly became well-known. Campbell returned to live in Glasgow in 1986, and emerged as the leading figure of a group of Scottish figurative painters known collectively as ‘The New Glasgow Boys’. The group consisted of Campbell alongside fellow GSA alumni Ken Currie, Peter Howson and Adrian Wiszniewski. Campbell’s work is held in collections such as the Tate and National Galleries of Scotland.

Adrian Wiszniewski (1958-) attended The Glasgow School of Art between 1979 and 1983 after studying at the Mackintosh School of Architecture from 1975-79. Wiszniewski quickly achieved success, his first piece of work was bought by the Tate when he was just 27 and other works went to the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Much of his early work was done with charcoal on paper but laterally he has concentrated on larger oil paintings. Like Steven Campbell, he belonged to the group of artists known as “The New Glasgow Boys”.

John Byrne (1940-) attended The Glasgow School of Art 1958-1963. He won a number of prizes while at the School including the Newbery Medal. John Byrne has gone on to become a successful television and theatre writer, painter and illustrator. His works of the 1960s and 1970s reveal great technical mastery and have become symbols of the pop music of the era, especially his portrait of the Beatles painted for The Illustrated Beatles Lyrics. He also painted a portrait of comedian Billy Connolly and produced several influential records sleeves.

Alexander Moffat (1943-) is a painter, notably of portraits of his artistic contemporaries; teacher, writer and curator of exhibitions. In the 1960s Moffat studied at Edinburgh College of Art and after graduation became a photographer in an engineering factory. From 1968-78 Moffat was chairman of 57 Gallery, Edinburgh and from 1979 he taught at the Glasgow School of Art, breathing new life into the School’s tradition of hard-edged figurative painting. He became head of painting and chairman of the School of Fine Art. Among Moffat’s exhibitions was one of his portraits at Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh, 1973; a travelling show of portraits of Scottish poets, organised by Third Eye Centre, Glasgow, 1981-2; and portraits of young artists at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, 1988.

Alasdair Gray (1934-) studied at the Glasgow School of Art and graduated in 1957 and has been a prolific artist ever since. He specialises in mural, narrative paintings, still life, figurative subjects and portraits as well as writing. Gray’s best known literary work is Lanark (1981), a landmark of 20th-century fiction, for which he also provided the illustrations. Gray’s work is held in collections such as the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, and the National Library of Scotland.

We hope you enjoy the variety of material we have put together and encourage you to utilise both the Library and Archives and Collections. To make an appointment to see material from the Archives and Collections, please email or telephone 0141 566 1418. To make a book enquiry, please contact the library by clicking here.