Glasgow International 2018 Openings: Booze Guide

A rundown of Glasgow International's first weekend opening extravaganza, with an eye on the free beers, wines and whiskeys promised around the city. GI 2018: one beer at a time

Article by Rosie Priest | 17 Apr 2018

If you’re trying to justify your drinking habits with cultural activities then look no further than our handy guide to the opening weekend of GI.

Thursday 19 April

Why not take a long weekend and book Friday off so that you can explore the full offerings of the Thursday evening previews? In fact, why not take an even longer weekend and skip the Thursday in the office too because Tramway are kicking off proceedings with two early afternoon performances of Tai Shani’s Dark Continent: SEMIRAMIS – an incredible large-scale immersive installation that also functions as a site for performances and an experimental adaptation of Christine de Pizan’s 1405 proto-feminist text The Book of the City of Ladies. This promises to be an evocative start to GI – with a strong possibility of an afternoon tipple available.

Keep your afternoon ticking along into the evening by paying a visit to 6 Dixon Street, as they open up a group exhibition featuring three queer, Glasgow-based artists (Hamish Chapman, Andrew Sim and Paul McKee), exploring the gym, folk tales, cruising and monsters from 4-6.30pm.  

Ciara Phillips, What we recognise in others, 2015, Screenprint on linen, stretched and framed, 164 x 144 cm

For the more civilised or less organised drinkers and cultural mongrels among us, the late afternoon and evening of Thursday promises a variety of free booze opportunities, starting at Trongate 103 with no fewer than four venues hosting openings. Glasgow Print Studio are playing host to Ciara Phillips, Turner Prize nominee and all round inspirational print maker, with an opening event from 5-9pm. This is also an opportunity to pay a visit to Street Level Photoworks, based just beside the Print Studio – they too are kicking off their GI offerings from 5-9pm: James Pfaff's Alex & Me  is an intimate autobiographical account of a road trip from Toronto to New Orleans and then back to New York, and a celebration of this photo story being told on the twentieth anniversary of the trip. Upstairs, Project Ability (House Party featuring Esther Ferrer with Louise Ahl and Fritz Welch, Jessica Higgins, Sandra Johnston and Pester & Rossi) and Glasgow Project Room (for Girlz Club with Charlotte Arnhold, Erica Eyres, Urara Tsuchiya and Ellis Luxemburg) are also popping corks and celebrating the opening of their exhibitions at GI – meaning that this could be a hot spot for those scared of the possibility of the opening night free wines running low.

Esther Ferrer, Malarmé Revisé o Malarmado Revisado, 2015

Thursday seems to be full of opportunities for drinks and a show at GI, as performances are scattered across the city: the Civic Room are hosting a group exhibition of leading Scottish and Glasgow-based artists exploring the anachronistic condition of contemporary art (as well as work by Toby Paterson in a separate exhibition), with a performance by Sue Tompkins at 5pm. After this GoMA are sharing a huge range of art offerings and wine by the glass from 5-7.30pm, with performances from 6pm, while over at Clockwise the vibrant and visceral, curious and re-imagined, comes to life in a large-scale exhibition composed of materials collected from previous constructs from the city of Glasgow itself, with a performance at 7pm. Transmission are exploring work by the South Africa-based network of young black female artists, the iQhiya Collective, and present a site-specific response to the historical and contemporary erasure of female artists in Scotland, with a not-to-be-missed performance kicking off at 7.30pm.

On the Southside, Govanhill Baths are hosting a group exhibition from this month's Showcase, Yon Afro Collective(Re)imagining Self and Raising Consciousness of Existence through Alternative Space and (Re)imagined Place is a mixed media show which seeks to amplify the lives of Black women and/+ Women of Colour (WOC) in Scotland, and tell stories which are often ignored. The opening reception will run 6-9pm. 

Friday 20 April: Afternoon

The Friday is really a celebration of all the art spaces on the Southside hosting exhibitions and events throughout GI – with no less than fifteen opportunities to crack into some opening events and cases of wine. This by no means that the Southside have monopolised the opening events, with an exciting opening in the City Centre and one in the West End, there’s an opportunity to get your swally on, no matter where you are in Glasgow.

Early afternoon previewing starts at 3pm, but you have a variety of venues to choose from: if it’s performance you crave in the afternoon then head along to The Savings Bank for a performance by Michelle Hannah titled Keener. The term ‘keener’ references women hired to sing at funeral wakes as a vocal form of mourning, and this durational performance piece is set to be an explosive, albeit sober (in tone not in alcohol content) way to start the Friday. Don’t worry if you miss it – there are repeated performances on both Saturday and Sunday. 

Back on the other side of the river, MANY Studios host an artist round table (3-4.30pm) from the SYFU (sorryoufeeluncomfortable) collective whose show (BUT) WHAT ARE YOU DOING ABOUT WHITE SUPREMACY will occupy the space until 20 May. Other events will include a programme of shorts, a reading group on Queering the Black Atlantic and an evening of performance – full details can be found on their site

If you’re not in the mood for a matinee show and tipple, then there are a further SIX openings all kicking off at 3pm – we previously mentioned taking a long weekend, but if you can’t, make sure you escape work early to catch one or more of the following afternoon openings.

Film still from No End to Enderby courtesy of Stephen Sutcliffe/Richard Heslop or Lion Eyes, Manchester 2017

The Pearce Institute are celebrating similarity in themes not forms by several international artists in the exhibition Chapter Thirteen, Fairfield Heritage explores a variety of landscapes from socialist structures that expand from Eastern Europe’s brutalist landscapes to Glasgow’s tower blocks, while Govan Project Space are exploring the changing Glasgow landscape through photography with Jonny Lyons and Matt Barnes.

Film City are celebrating one of Anthony Burgess’s (writer of A Clockwork Orange) most bizarre characters in two films made collaboratively with Glasgow artist Stephen Sutcliffe, while House for an Art Lover are also celebrating video art in one of their three opening exhibitions on the Friday afternoon with a new film work by Bahar Yürükoğlu and Alex Sarkisian exploring the artists’ collaborative relationship, which began after they met in Svalbard in the Arctic Circle and continued until they met again exactly two years later in the inverse climate of Guna Yala, Panama. The final of the Southside openings kicking off at 3pm is at Pollok House which celebrates ten artists (Ruth Barker, Jasper Coppes, Alan Currall, Sarah Forrest, Susan Brind, Jim Harold, Shona Macnaughton, Duncan Marquiss, Shauna McMullan and Joanna Peace) as they work in partnership with the National Trust for Scotland and explore concepts surrounding a post-Brexit Scotland.

There are a few opportunities to bridge your afternoon art adventures with your evening ones, as at 4pm the Scotland Street School Museum explores the legacies of the Kindergarten educational method through unique commissions from a group of artists, designers and their young children – Jedrzej Cichosz, Nick Evans, Charlie Hammond, Giuseppe Mistretta, Neil McGuire, Scott Myles, Toby Paterson, Edwin Pickstone and Owen Piper, curated by Mhairi McMullan and Katy West. There’s a strong possibility of some fizzy pop being available – which may help power you into the evening’s openings and avoid a daytime drinking slump. At 5pm Oxford House celebrate Glasgow-based artist (and all round good guy) Michael White and showcase his sculptural works which sit ambiguously between the fetishised commodity and the contemporary art object. We know Michael quite well and anticipate a well-stocked bar at this opening.

Urs Fischer, 0, (2015)

Friday 20 April: Evening

The Friday evening can be split into two categories: the 6pm openings vs. the 8pm opening which is at SWG3. These guys are keeping their doors open later than any others, until 10pm, meaning there’s a likelihood of all GI crawlers ending up in the West End for the final stages of the evening. They've told us the previews are invite-only so be warned – if your name's not down, you might not be getting in. There are no less than six openings to choose from in the earlier evening however, and five of those are Southside.

In the earlier evening in the Southside you have the choice of: Stallan-Brand are examining the meaning of physical and cultural borders (these guys are architects by trade, so there could potentially be some better quality wine at this opening – but this is just conjecture). The Tramway will of course be humming with activity as they open a further two exhibitions for GI, Mark Leckey's much-anticipated Nobodaddy and Kapwani Kiwanga's Soft Measures. Laurieston Arena  will come to life with Tilting at Windmills, a playful combination of sculpture, installation and live performance by three Glasgow based artists, Elizabeth Hudson, Tim Sandys and Bobby Sayers while Laurieston Arches will similarly be celebrating Glasgow-based artists in no less than 3 group shows. If you can’t make it out of the city centre to the plethora of openings on the Southside, then head to the Modern Institute's Airds Lane space for 6pm, for the launch of their exhibition of new work by Urs Fischer (and, as we all know, the Modern Institute tend to stock some of the more palatable wines at their openings).

Saturday 21 April

It doesn’t really kick off for GI openings until 1pm, meaning that you have plenty of time for brunch before hitting the streets of Glasgow again to get your art hit. Unlike on Friday, the Saturday opening events are spread right across Glasgow – so to make your lives a little easier, and to enable you to stumble from venue to venue, we’ve sorted them all out according to location.

Love Unlimited, Room Service, Installation view, Union Pacific, London 2017

West End

It’s all about the late afternoon in the West End, with 717 Great Western Road providing MollyMae Whawell space for her first ever solo exhibition, which is part of ongoing research into crossovers between contemporary sculpture and dance, with a performance at 3pm. Also at 3pm, both The Common Guild and Kelvin Hall kick off their openings, presenting Katinka Block and April issue cover star Hardeep Pandhal's solo displays respectively. The last of the West End opening events will be artists Urara Tsuchiya and Richard Dodwell presenting their debut fashion collection Dragon Palace Entertainment™️ above a fish shop in 71 Houldsworth Street at 4pm.

Mick Peter

East End

Platform are the earliest of the launch events to open their doors on the Saturday at 1pm, with an exhibition by Jessica Ramm in which the artist reflects upon the emotional effects of the spaces we live and work in, presenting performances and sculptures that explore the possibilities of ‘home-made’ architecture as an aesthetic and political statement. There will also be a social event (sounds promising for a bevvy) at 3pm, curated by Love Unlimited in the space.

To take you from the afternoon into the evening, at 4pm Wasps Studios Hanson Street kick off their group exhibition Big Time Sensuality with Caitlin Merrett King, Hannah Reynolds and Isabella Widger looking at the ideas of collaboration and friendship as part of a continuing exploration into curating and working together within an expanded artistic practice. After that, head to Dalmarnock Gas Purifier Shed for Mick Peter's The Regenerators, part of the Director's Programme, and Impact Arts for a new installation from Carla Scott Fullerton, both opening their doors at 5pm.

David Dale Gallery & Studios are kicking off the East End evening activities with a solo exhibition by Augustas Serapinas at 6pm, at the same time that you can head back to Many Studios for the official launch of (BUT) WHAT ARE YOU DOING ABOUT WHITE SUPREMACY, making us all examine the dominant social structures we exist within as the collective Sorryyoufeeluncomfortable turns the studios into a space for radical exploration and discussions.

The Market Gallery opening reception begins at 7pm, presenting a two-person exhibition with Aniara Omann and Gary Zhexi Zhang exploring the fluidity and contradictions between disparate systems through the use of concepts derived from consciousness-based reality, quantum physics and microbiology.

Finally, The Pipe Factory are closing events in the East with an evening titled Wetware, an installation involving musicians from Glasgow’s DIY underground, produced through the lens of an expanded print process. This event interrogates current and future cross-overs between visual and sonic artistic communities, alongside tropes of escapism, kinships and gourmet bathing. 7pm til late.

City Centre and North Glasgow

Instead of being hung on a gallery wall, paintings in the accessible and playful exhibition Foundation Painting Show (by such artists as Michael Fullerton, Andrew Kerr, France-Lise McGurn and Victoria Morton) are placed on sofas in the window of the British Heart Foundation shop on Stockwell Street, and the opening kicks off at 2pm – we’re not sure if there’ll be a big booze contingency here, however at 3pm, Glasgow Sculpture Studios are kicking off their Sculpture Showroom which is an adoption service for sculptural objects, seeking to match works of art with new guardians. Over at Good Press at the same time they open their group show Artist’s Type Foundry, and we know they will definitely have a few beers available. Finally in the City Centre and North of the city, the Modern Institute present a historical show by British artist Duggie Fields, with the opening event starting at 6pm.


The Southside of Glasgow are cannily limiting themselves to just the one opening on Saturday after their Friday night launch deluge. Radclyff Hall is at 4pm, which will see Toronto-based duo Hazel Meyer and Cait McKinney presenting a performance-lecture that considers what we might do with all the dusty videotape and 8mm film that fills the shelves of LGBTQ community archives. 

Sunday 22 April & Monday 23 April

If you’ve still got room for exhibition openings and free wine that tastes like it was fermented behind someone’s radiator, then on Sunday there are two events for you: the Pearce Institute are hosting a performance at 1pm by Esther Ferrer, with another performance on the Monday as well, while in the evening from 6pm The Telfer Gallery are showcasing work by extraordinary artist Carrie Skinner in a performance set to be one not to miss. 

That brings us to the end of our 2018 GI opening weekend booze guide – only the hardiest of art fans will be able to navigate the full programme in a oner, wine in hand. If you manage it, let us know!*

*Documentation essential. 

Glasgow International 2018, 20 April-7 May