Written by Dotty Winters


A Moment’s Peace: Glasgow Museum of Modern Art

Our series which helps you make the most of those slivers of time when you’re on your own and at a loose end gets one bigger as Dotty Winters perfects the art of going solo.

This Womb with a View is Dotty’s go-to place for peace

I love modern art. I think I love un-modern art too, but it frightens me; I don’t know all the right words, or understand the history. I cannot use phrases like “disjunctive perturbation”, “matrix spatially” or “simplicity of the distinctive formal juxtapositions” with any sort of confidence. (I had to use this handy art critic jargon generator to find these ones.)

Modern art, especially sculpture, doesn’t seem to require nearly so much of me. I simply have to look at it and decide whether I like it, whether it makes me feel anything and whether it makes me think about anything. Having asked myself those questions and recognising that the answers make absolutely no difference, I feel free to stare at it dreamily.

Galleries of modern art have a quiet, reflective romance and dignity; they can make me feel significant, insignificant, smart, dumb, calm, angry, agitated and relaxed all at once. I find them utterly diverting.

If I try to relax at home I end up asleep on my sofa and awake feeling groggy and guilty, a wander round an art gallery can leave me more refreshed than a spa day ever could.

Yep, I have a secret art gallery habit and I am letting it out of the bag here. It’s where I kill time between meetings, it what I end up doing if I try to go shopping then remember that I hate it.

Gallery One at GoMA

It started with my most favourite gallery of all: Glasgow Museum of Modern Art (GoMA). This is my favourite for many reasons.

An incredible, imposing building, inside it’s wonderfully light and airy; it’s free; it houses some great exhibitions as well as much-loved permanent residents; and it was just over an hour by bus from teenage me.

I have a secret art gallery habit and I am letting it out of the bag here. It’s where I kill time between meetings, it what I end up doing if I try to go shopping then remember that I hate it.

To be clear “just over an hour” was just about the minimum amount of time it would take to get anywhere interesting from where teenage-me grew up. And teenage-me quickly discovered there is no nicer, safer or warmer place to work through your angst while waiting for your friends’ buses to arrive than an art gallery – all with the added bonus of being able to pretend to be cultured and mysterious.

I still pretend to be cultured and mysterious when I am in art galleries. Sometimes I even carry a notepad so it looks like I might have important thoughts to write down, or sketches to scribble.

The Glasgow Museum of Modern Art (GoMA)

My favourite piece of art at GoMA is still there, built into the structure.

On the upper floor is a tiny wooden room, with benches carved into it. Inside this tiny space you sit inside a wooden rib cage and can peer through a tiny round window down on the main gallery on the floors below.

This piece is called Peephole – Womb with a View and it’s by Tim Stead, a sculptor I’ve come to love. There, specifically there – people watching from inside the protective rib cage of an unknown wooden beast while pretending to the artsy heroine of an unwritten 80s rom-com – is where I’d go for a moment’s peace. I still go back, as often as I am able to.

Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA)
Royal Exchange Square, Glasgow G1 3AH
Tel: 0141 287 3050
Email: [email protected]
Website: www.glasgowlife.org.uk/museums/GoMA
Opening times: Mon-Thurs and Sat: 10am-5pm; Friday and Sunday 11am-5pm.

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Written by Dotty Winters

Nascent stand-up, fan of fancy words, purveyor of occasional wrongness, haphazard but enthusiastic parent, science-fan, apprentice-feminist.