CRACK SQUAD OF SITU was a week-long takeover of the History of Art building at 8 University Gardens by MLitt Curatorial Practice (Contemporary Art) student Holly Knox Yeoman and artist Fritz Welch. Combining installation, wall drawings and video, the residency culminated in the performance of OINK TRAP – a graphic score of live experimental music, action and sound.
The Curatorial Practice (Contemporary Art) MLitt course enables students to develop the independent skills needed for working in curatorial roles in contemporary art. Jointly taught by the University of Glasgow and The Glasgow School of Art, students can take full advantage of Glasgow’s thriving art scene.
We caught up with Holly after the closing event to ask her more about the residency and her experiences on the Curatorial Practice course.
What about the building did you react to most when producing the work?
From the outset, the three floors of the History of Art Department captured my imagination. In semester two, I took the elective in ‘Dada in Switzerland and Germany’ with Debbie Lewer and it made me wonder what Dadaist performance would look like today, in the building I was sitting in. When I approached artist Fritz Welch similarly he was taken by 8 University Gardens’ period features and intriguing proportions.
The posters for major gallery exhibitions line the dark wood staircase, and they became an interesting backdrop for Welch’s own posters. He partially obscured the existing posters by placing his own, ‘blackened’ through paint and ink, on top of them.
The staircase, bannisters and landings became focal points for the residency closing performance – a graphic score called ‘OINK TRAP’. The audience positioned themselves on the landings and stairs and were able to move freely to see the different parts of the performance. It was performed by Welch, Louise Ahl, Alex Baggaley, Adam Campbell and Maria Donohue. The bannisters were used for two scroll works, one of which was unrolled from the second floor during the performance.
The unrolling scroll by Fritz Welch during the residency:
What’s the reaction from staff in the History of Art building been to the takeover?
The staff and students thought it was a great idea that a residency was taking place, and livening up the University’s ‘off season’. Everyone who is there working continues to be very busy and very quickly it seemed that Fritz and I had become “part of the furniture”, which was helpful for us getting on with our own residency work.
But there were some great moments of interaction and happenstance. There were times during the ‘curatorial office’ where help was required from people passing by the table; for instance artist Naomi Garriock had created a costume-canvas which attached her and me to the foyer table and we had to ask for assistance from staff passing by to help us make sure our costume-canvas was positioned correctly. On another occasion when I was getting my haircut by artist and hairdresser Alan Grieve, Kenny Ryburn, the janitor offered to be the “assistant” and helped take photographs of the meeting.
What happened in the curatorial office? Any interesting future projects?
The curatorial office was staged in the foyer of the department. Artists whom I have worked with or hope to work with in the future were invited to meet, and discuss the future project. This was the artist’s brief prior to the meeting and these meetings were often performative because performance is one of my interests. Interesting future projects include an exhibition at hairdressers-event-art-space Workspace Dunfermline, owned by artist Alan Grieve and a ‘Death Cafe for Misogyny’ with artist Kate Clayton. The first draft took place in the curatorial office and will feed into our major project in 2018.
How has the MLitt helped you in your work and practice as a curator?
The MLitt has helped me reflect on my previous work as a curator and has provided me with an opportunity to improve my working approach. It has enabled me to find like minded artists and curators to work with, who I can collaborate with to explore new contexts to reach people with.
This project is part of a series of Masters Projects taking place 10 August – 7 September 2017. For more details see the Graduate Degree Projects brochure.
A version of the project, and work by other students on the Curatorial Practice (Contemporary Art) course can be seen at the Graduate Degree Show, Glasgow School of Art, 2- 7 September 2017.
Learn more about the Curatorial Practice (Contemporary Art) MLitt