The Twentieth Century Society

Campaigning for outstanding buildings

Public Art and Sculpture 4: Scottish New Town Art and Sculpture Lecture

Public Art and Sculpture 4: Scottish New Town Art and Sculpture Lecture

Thursday 10 November 2022 at 6.30pm

The Gallery, 70 Cowcross Street, London EC1M 6EJ

Andrew Demetrius will examine the flowering of public art that occurred in Scotland’s New Towns, focussing on 1965-80, discussing its origins and looking at the role of the town artists and their collaborative design practice.

From their origins in the progressive vision of post-war reconstruction, New Towns combined utopianism with pragmatism in their approach to planning for modern living. The housing and infrastructure required a concomitant visual culture to give a sense of identity and to help beautify the sometimes harsh and repetitive urban landscapes.

In Scotland, the respective development corporations of East Kilbride, Glenrothes, Cumbernauld, Livingston and Irvine adopted a variety of approaches, most choosing to place an artist within their planning departments to devise projects that would embed art within the townscape in ways that would acknowledge the needs of the community.

The creation of art that responded to its urban context marked an important shift away from traditional public sculpture and the development of Environmental Art. Its playful appearance masks an intelligent conjoining of art and design practice that has endured to become a significant late modernist legacy deserving of wider recognition.

Andrew Demetrius is curator at the School of Art History, University of St Andrews, where he is also working on a PhD research project, The Town Art of Glenrothes and David Harding. He was programme advisor for Meet You at the Hippos (BBC Scotland, 2021) and is a director of Fife Contemporary.

C20 Society Members:  £ 10 Non-Members: £ 15

Includes a glass of wine

NOTE: We are working on arrangements for live streaming this lecture and will let you know when we have some news.

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The Twentieth Century Society is an IHBC (Institute of Historic Building conservation) recognised CPD provider.

The Twentieth Century Society is a registered charity, no 1110244

Above:   Brian Miller, Carbrain Totem, Cumbernauld  Photograph: Gordon Baird / Art UK


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