Slow Dazzle, issue No. 5, 1984 

Slow Dazzle, issue No. 5, 1984

Social Sculpture: The Rise of the Glasgow Art Scene >

Research Themes
Contemporary Art & Curating

Research Staff
Sarah Lowndes

Social Sculpture: The Rise of the Glasgow Art Scene (2010) is a social history that charts the emergence of the Glasgow art scene from the early 1970s onwards. It is authored by Sarah Lowndes, a writer, curator and lecturer in the Forum of Critical Inquiry at Glasgow School of Art.

Social sculpture is the first book to explore the emergence of the Glasgow art scene. It examines performance and conceptual-related practice in Glasgow from the early 1970s onwards, covering the work of both public institutions and grassroots arts initiatives with an emphasis on artist-led projects and under-documented, ephemeral projects and events. 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.

The research behind Social Sculpture includes 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.

In relationship to Social Sculpture, Lowndes has appeared on Culture Café, (Radio Scotland, 2011), Newsnight (BBC Scotland, 2011), and The Space, (BBC Scotland, 2012). She was interviewed by Charlotte Higgins for The Guardian (2011), Phil Miller for The Herald (2011) and Catriona Stewart for The Sunday Herald (2011) and appeared at Aye Write, Glasgow International Book Festival (2011).

‘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 Statesman