Inner City explores questions about the modern city, hidden communities and cultural identity. The exhibition takes its name from its centrepiece, a multimedia installation by Michael C McMillen – an amazingly detailed and atmospheric fictional depiction of a Los Angeles slum, which is on display for the first time in more than 15 years. Works by Alberta Whittle and Mitch Miller bring a local context to the dialogue. The exhibition is accompanied by a programme of related artist films.
Born in Los Angeles, Michael C McMillen is a visual artist in the very widest sense. Often overlapping, his work involves sculpture, installation, printmaking and cultural anthropology. While building his reputation as an artist, McMillen created props and special effects for the film industry, with his work featuring in movies including ‘Blade Runner’ and ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’.
Reflecting the artist’s concerns about the lack of investment in infrastructure and social care in the United States in the 1970s, Inner City is a hyperreal model of an imagined rundown area of Los Angeles. The installation, first shown at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1978, allows viewers to become immersed in the nightscape of a derelict neighbourhood, altering their sense of personal scale as they look at the miniature dystopian world.
Michael C McMillen said: “I’m really happy to see this work re-emerge. It’s like seeing an old friend after twenty years. I’m happy to see it shared with a new generation; I see art as a kind of visual poetry that the visitor completes with their own associations and memories.”
Local artist Mitch Miller’s publically engaged artworks also explore hidden or forgotten communities in an attempt to make them more discernible. Drawing on his background in comics and social research, he has created an art form he named the dialectogram.
Often pen and ink on mounted board, Miller’s work is the process that goes into the drawing after an extended period of time working with a community. It is the relationship and connections he develops that dictate the content of the drawing. Three dialectograms depicting a community flat in Edinburgh, Clydebank Library, and a bar on the Red Road Housing Estate in Glasgow feature alongside an unfinished work portraying Britain’s longest student occupation at the University of Glasgow.
Mitch Miller said: “I’m very excited at this opportunity to exhibit a selection of my work alongside Michael and Alberta. This is the first time I’ve exhibited at the GoMA, and it means a great deal to have your work shown in the heart of the city I call home – and which continues to be a fascinating, and challenging place to work.”
Whittle’s practice is grounded in her Scottish-Caribbean heritage and her works reflect her interest in migrating cultures and how the culture of a multi-stranded society develops. Her videos and collage works questions postcolonial power as articulated through memory and history.
Often gathering documentation from private and public performances in different site-specific locations, Whittle has developed an archive of images to transform into her collage and film work. The artist’s pieces often respond to the sea as site of labour, capitalism, surveillance and death, but also survival and the possibility for rebirth and transformation. Two digital films, three digital prints and a bronze cast are on show as part of Inner City.
Alberta Whittle said: “The opportunity to share my work at GOMA, within the ongoing conversations about colonialism in Scotland, is a potent proposition. Hopefully my work will support further conversations and question the erasure of key narratives and representations of people of colour in Scotland.”
Alberta Whittle and Mitch Miller will be GoMA’s Associate Artists throughout 2018. The Associate Artist programme has been made possible by generous support from the Friends of Glasgow Museums (FoGM).
While we take every opportunity to ensure the details for Inner City are accurate, we always advise that you contact the event organiser before setting out for the event to avoid disapointment.
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