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Beholder

Talbot Rice Gallery, University of Edinburgh
November 19th 2011-February 18th 2012
4 stars
“Beauty,” according to that man David Hume, whose tercentenary year is
almost up, “is no quality in things themselves: it exists merely in the
mind which contemplates them.”

So it goes in this bumper grab-bag of some fifty-odd works, each
subjectively selected by a far-reaching network of artists, curators,
movers, shakers and other organisers who populate Scotland’s fecund
visual landscape. Their brief, as with Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler, is to do
it beautifully. The result is a gloriously disparate jumbled-up
wonderland of art for art’s sake that’s a joy to wander through.

Classicism and conceptualism rub up against each other, as do the
institutions with the DIY pop-up spaces in an all too rare fit of
democratic inclusivity in the best sense of both words. Beholder also
speaks volumes about taste. So what’s an ugly-bugly portrait in the
corner to some will have others in raptures. Yoko Ono and L.S. Lowry
prove as surprising as each other, abeit in radically different ways.
And just take a peek at Bruce McLean’s puddle-like floor-mirror,
Narcissus. Wow! Now that really is something pretty beautiful.

The List, December 2011

ends

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