VISUAL ARTS

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Indy Lifestyle Online
Art in the Square: The Glasgow Art Fair, George Square, Glasgow (0141-552 6027), 17-20 Apr

A year has passed since the doors opened at Glasgow's Gallery of Modern Art. A year which has brought them some 750,000 visitors - so it can be counted as a success. But wide and well-deserved criticism of the art on show means that at this level it can be considered a failure. And massive cuts in its funding look like creating a disaster. The current situation is an impossible one for Julian Spalding, head of Glasgow Art Galleries and Museums, and a glum one for art in Glasgow.

Happily, the city has other outlets for its famous reserves of artistic energy and one such is provided this week by the Glasgow Art Fair, now in its second year and looking like a healthy addition to the national art calendar. Last year's event was visited by 14,000 people (the organisers had been hoping for 5,000). This year's opens to the public on Thursday, under canvas awnings in the city's main place, George Square.

There are 42 galleries taking part from all over the country, including 25 from Scotland along with a number of London dealers with established Scottish connections, including the Portland Gallery and the Fine Art Society. They promise good things, as does Patrick Bourne from Edinburgh, Glasgow's own Evan Mundy and the Piccadilly Gallery and Flowers East, two others making the trip from London.

All forms are represented, from painting to photography to sculpture, and pieces come from all over the UK, and not just Scotland. Inevitably, there will be plenty of rubbish mixed in, but the scale of the Glasgow Art Fair is more manageable than most, which makes it easier to spot something worth taking home. With prices ranging from pounds 30 to pounds 30,000 there should be an artwork for most tastes and most pockets. EYE ON THE NEW In Dublin, the winner of the first Nissan Art Project has been announced. The pounds 40,000 prize has gone to Frances Hegarty and Andrew Stone to make selected texts from James Joyce's Ulysses in neon signs around the city. They light up in July.

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