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What to do in Glasgow: Modern Art Galleries

For us, one of our favourite things to do when visiting a new city is to check out what cultural gems it has to offer. Every city has something unique and we want to show you some of the best things to do in our majestic city of Glasgow.

Did you know that our city is a big player when it comes to modern art? Glasgow is the place to be for art-lovers, whether you want to see some classic work by Dali, Monet and Van Gogh or if contemporary art is more your thing.

We won’t get into a long history lesson but back in 1990, Glasgow was named the European Capital of Culture. Yes, we know that was a few years ago, but we think that its art scene has continued to grow since then – and now, metaphorically speaking, it’s developed from being a new-born to a mature adult.

So, let us art buffs at citizenM be your guide to the city, showing you five of our favourite galleries that prove that Glasgow can stand on its own two feet in the art world.

  1. Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA)

If you head right into the heart of Glasgow to Royal Exchange Square, you’ll spot the iconic building that GoMA calls home straight away, as well as the statue of the Duke of Wellington that stands outside. We have a soft spot for this statue - it’s a proud Glaswegian tradition to put a traffic cone on this statue’s head and he wore a glitter cone for our hotel’s grand opening back in 2010!

The statue sets the tone for when you step inside the gallery as the exhibitions are far from traditional. GoMA want to make their visitors think and engage with art, so they regularly screen controversial films and make powerful comments, like the Deep in the Heart of Your Brain exhibition about genetics and disability.

  1. Centre for Contemporary Arts (CCA)

A ten-minute stroll from our citizenM home is the CCA. This historical building looks gorgeous when it’s lit up in the evening so we’d recommend going later in the day to catch it in its full glory. You don’t even have to worry about leaving it too late because the gallery and its café are open until midnight!

We spent a lovely evening enjoying some of their delicious home-baked bread and cakes with our favourite tipple (a Bloody Mary for us, please!) before checking out one of their multi-media installations. They’ve got plenty of interesting exhibitions, films and performances on offer, so take a look at their programme online to see if there’s anything that takes your fancy.  

  1. The Glue Factory

You might think that The Glue Factory is an unusual name for an art gallery and you’d be right. It’s quite a departure from the white walls and blank space of a traditional art gallery, but we love its industrial charm. It’s raw, it’s rough around the edges, it even has a bar/dancefloor. What more could you want?

Art-loving hipsters, misfits, haters of the norm – this independent art space could well become your spiritual second home like it has for us. Come along to Babaloose, a semi-regular night where everyone’s invited to read or sing or communicate in some way to a likeminded audience. We know that sounds scary, but the relaxed atmosphere and warm audience helped us get over any nerves!

  1. Tramway

What’s that – your home is in an old tram depot? Tell us more, Tramway! We were intrigued by the gallery’s unique location and when we got there, we weren’t quite sure what to expect.

Like the building, the exhibitions are certainly not traditional but they are very well-respected in the art world. Tramway has hosted installations for the prestigious Turner Prize in 2015 (from artists Assemble, Bonnie Camplin, Janice Kerbel and Nicole Wermers, in case you were wondering!) – so don’t be fooled by its unassuming exterior!

  1. Transmission Gallery

Last and certainly not least is Transmission Gallery. Think the name sounds familiar? Well, Franz Ferdinand sang the infectious lines “so here we are at the Transmission Party / I love your friends, they’re all so arty” about this gallery… Yep, expect that song to be in your head for the rest of the day!

Anyway, that gives you an idea of how trendy it is there. Its exhibitions feature loads of young artists who have been selected by the impressive (and intimidating!) committee of established artists, including Eva Rothschild, Douglas Gordon and Scott Paterson. You should definitely take time to visit this gallery as it’s perfected the balance of having heart, as well as being super cool.

We love the diversity of the art galleries in Glasgow and we want to get the word out! Glasgow can stand shoulder to shoulder with cities around the world when it comes to modern art. See for yourselves why the EU designated it the European Capital of Culture and why we think it still holds the crown!

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