making art out of the ashes at the glasgow school art

After a fire destroyed much of famous Mackintosh Building in 2014, artists including Grayson Perry and Anish Kapoor have been making art from the ashes and selling them to benefit the reconstruction.

by Felix Petty
31 January 2017, 4:40pm

In the last 10 years, the Glasgow School of Art has produced four Turner Prize winners. Not bad going by any measure. It stands, outside of London's CSM/Goldsmiths duopoly, as the country's best art school. When a fire ravaged the university in 2014, destroying much of the interior, the library, the archive, and studios, it was unclear what the future would be for the old heart of the school. Having temporarily relocated, restoration work has started, and now it's set to get a major boost.

Literally out of the ashes, art has come to save the day. 25 international artists, including seven Tuner Prize winners, have been sent a piece of debris from the wreckage of the building and asked to create a work from it, which will now be sold to raise funds for the reconstruction. Artists as wide-ranging and renowned as Antony Gormley, Anish Kapoor, Simon Starling, Grayson Perry, Jenny Saville, David Shrigley, the Chapman Brother and Sir Peter Blake have all got involved.

Read: Designers Pam Hogg, Jonathan Saunders and Louise Gray on the Glasgow School of Art.

"It's a tragedy. It's the most famous art school building in Britain," Grayson Perry said to the BBC. "I was very excited when I received the box of charcoal. I had an idea almost immediately and the idea of making an urn was an obvious thing to do. The idea of memorialising or celebrating the difficulty - honouring the wound. It's something I'm trying to do. Move on and make the most of it."

So far, the GSA have raised £18 million towards the renovation. It's hoped these works, due to go to auction in March, could raise another £32 million.


Text Felix Petty
Image via GSA

Glasgow School of Art
Grayson Perry
Anish Kapoor
Mackintosh Building