Every two years, Glasgow pokes its head above the international contemporary art parapet like a gallus traffic cone perched atop a well-known bronze statue. Yesterday, the eighth edition of contemporary art biennale, Glasgow International (GI), formally opened for business. Over the next two weeks or so, a host of exhibitions, performances, public installations and events will take place at 78 venues across the city. Some will be in well-kent spaces such as GoMA or Kelvingrove, while others will pop up in unlikely venues such as the landmark Dalmarnock gas works and subway stations and trains.

The city has been punching above its weight for several years in terms of its international reputation on the contemporary art scene, with Turner Prize winners a-plenty being claimed as its own and artists moving to the city to live and work as a direct result.

The hub of GI is at Trongate 103 in the Merchant City and it’s the place to start your GI odyssey, with daily tours leaving at midday. There’s also a bike tour if you’re so inclined. See the GI website for details. Don’t be put off by art-speak you might encounter along the way. Just take an open mind and see what connects.

1 You can’t move in the creative industries (the noble estate of journalism included) for people complaining about putting in a ton of work towards a project for no financial recompense. The visual arts is particularly prone to this malaise. For In Kind, artists Janie Nicoll and Ailie Rutherford are charting the hidden economies of the visual arts using GI 2018 as a case study. They have been asking fellow artists to sign up so that they can log the unpaid labour, mutual support, favours and volunteer hours that go into making a festival like GI happen. Look out for mobile events around the city courtesy of the In Kind shopping trolley.

In Kind: Janie Nicoll and Ailie Rutherford, Centre for Contemporary Arts Glasgow (CCA), 350 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow, G2 3JD, until Fri April 27, Mon-Sun, 1-5pm, Platform, 1000 Westerhouse Road, Glasgow, G34 9JW, from Fri April 27 to Wed May 2. Mon-Sun, 1-5pm, Trongate 103, 103 Trongate, Glasgow, G1 5HD, Wed May 2 to Mon May 7. Mon-Sun, 1-5pm. https://inkindproject.info/

2 As part of GI’s Director’s programme, the main hall at Kelvingrove Art Gallery will be the site of a brand new commission by the most recent winner of the Turner Prize, Lubaina Himid, who has a long association with Glasgow. Her new work, which hints at her former life as a set designer in the theatre, formally opens to the public today. Himid has created a giant wagon suspended in mid-air in the centre of the space. Adorned with mythical creatures taken from motifs in the architecture of Kelvingrove, she seeks to explore histories within our art and culture, particularly those of people of


Breaking in. Breaking Out. Breaking Up. Breaking down: Lubaina Himid, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Argyle Street, Glasgow, G3 8AG. Mon-Thu & Sat, 10am-5pm, Fri & Sun, 11am-5pm

3Glasgow’s Clockwork Orange, as the city’s network of underground trains is affectionately known, has long been a source of fascination to artists. For LOOP, artworks by Alys Owen and Beth Shapeero will be displayed across the subway network. Prints, drawings, large scale installations and live pieces examine the nature of travel and daily routines, exploring the overlooked absurdities of everyday life. Does the wind tunnel hairstyle ring any bells?

In an interactive “artwork giveaway”, golden tickets will be dispensed randomly when customers purchase tickets to win a free original artwork or limited edition print.

LOOP: Alys Owen and Beth Shapeero,

SPT Subway System, around the city,

www.loopglasgowsubway.co.uk, Mon-Sat, 6.30am-11.30pm, Sun, 10am-6pm

4The hoardings that surround building sites occupy a strange position in our built environment. We pass them by with nary a glance but occasionally there are some gems buried within. For this GI commission, Glasgow-based Mick Peter has worked with a group of students from Glasgow School of Art’s Widening Participation team to create an 80m long billboard to cover the empty facade of a historic former gas-purifying shed in Dalmarnock in the east end. The new hoarding depicts, in drawings reminiscent of a newspaper strip cartoon, crumbling buildings from different eras, including a medieval castle, tenement housing and modern flats in the process of being demolished.

The Regenerators: Mick Peter, Dalmarnock Gas Purifier Shed, 90 Old Dalmanock Road, Glasgow, G40 4DG. Mon-Wed & Fri-Sun, 10am-6pm, Thu, 10am-8pm

5My new favourite art space in Glasgow is Queens Park Railway Club in the south side of the city. Comprising of two waiting rooms on an actual railway platform – Queen’s Park – this great wee space is playing host to a new exhibition by Glasgow artist Michael Fullerton examining the historical impact of Scottish Enlightenment philosopher David Hume. Inspired by Allan Ramsay’s portrait of Hume, Fullerton presents paintings of some of the philosopher’s living relatives, many of whom now live in America. Through these representations of the Scottish diaspora, the works are a reflection on the global dissemination and influence of Hume’s philosophies.

Seminal Event: Michael Fullerton, Queens Park Railway Club, 492 Victoria Road, Glasgow, G42 8PQ. Mon-Sun, 12pm-6pm

6I can’t be the only one who goes into an art school at degree show time and drools over the plaster casts. There’s something regal about these inanimate figures who preside over generations of art students as they come and go. Ruth Switalski and Anthony Brotheridge are similarly smitten and for this exhibition at Clockwise in the Savoy Tower just down from the Glasgow School of Art, they have taken the art school’s plaster cast collection and connected it with the casts in the Hunterian Collection’s Anatomy Museum at Glasgow University. What do these antique casts tell us about contemporary notions of beauty and gender stereotypes, they ask? Go and find out...

Ruth Switalski and Anthony Brotheridge: Material Objects, Clockwise, Savoy Tower, 77 Renfrew Street, Glasgow, G2 3BZ, until May 7. Mon-Fri, noon-4pm, Thu, noon-8pm, Sat-Sun, 11am-5pm

7Civic House at Speirs Locks, just below the Forth and Clyde Canal and north of Glasgow city centre overlooking the M8, is another newish venue on the city’s art scene. Built in the 1920s as a printworks for Civic Press, a left-wing publisher, it’s a venue which suits Toby Paterson to a tee. Paterson, whose best known work is on the facade of BBC Scotland’s headquarters in Glasgow, is an artist with a long held interest in the landscape of cities, particularly in his native Glasgow. Penumbralism examines the many “grey areas” of a city which we see at every turn.

Toby Paterson: Penumbralism, Civic House, 26 Civic Street, Glasgow, G4 9RH, until May 7. Mon-Wed & Fri-Sun, noon-5pm, Thu, noon-8pm

8Getting in about art in unusual places and spaces is the kind of thing GI does so well. What could be more accessible than a charity shop in Glasgow city centre? Instead of being hung on a gallery wall, the paintings in this seriously playful show are placed on old sofas in the window of the British Heart Foundation shop on Stockwell Street. Each day, Simon Buckley and Othmar Farré will arrange a new selection of works by international artists, including Jedrzej Cichosz, Olga Cerkasova, Adrian Falkner, Michael Fullerton, Paula Henrike Herrmann, Jan Kiefer, Andrew Kerr, Mathis Gasser, Raphael Linsi, Sophie Mackfall,

France-Lise McGurn, Victoria Morton, Alys Owen, Max Ruf, Justin Stephens, Mandy Ure and Anna Diehl.

Simon Buckley and Othmar Farré Present Foundation Painting Show, British Heart Foundation, 22 Stockwell Street, Glasgow, G1 4RT, until May 7. Mon-Fri 9.30am-5.30pm, Sat 9am-5pm, Sun 11am-5pm

9As a name for an art collective, Yon Afro tickled me from the outset. Najma Abukar, Layla-Roxanne Hill, Sekai Machache and Adebusola Debora Ramsay are Yon Afro Collective (YAC). They try to tell stories of women of colour in Scotland which are routinely ignored. For this exhibition at Govanhill Baths, the collective will consider how the Black Other is viewed. By looking at ways in which there is a performance in the business of being “ourselves”, the artists will create sculptural and other visual material which sheds light on what it is to be a black woman in contemporary Scotland.

(Re)Imagining Self and Raising Consciousness of Existence Through Alternative Space and (Re)Imagined Place by Yon Afro Collective, Govanhill Baths, 99 Calder Street, Glasgow, G42 7RA, until May 7. Mon-Wed & Fri, 1.30pm-6pm, Thu, 2pm-8pm, Sat, 11am-5pm

10 If ever a poster sold a show, it’s Ross Birrell’s image of a horse’s head, left. Birrell’s new exhibition at the CCA brings together major film projects commissioned for contemporary arts festival, documenta 14, in Athens last year. In his film Criollo, an Argentine horse, stands at the gateway to New York’s Central Park. It’s a beguiling and intriguing premise. Criollo was inspired by Tschiffely’s Ride, an equestrian journey from Buenos Aires to New York (1925-28) which also inspired Birrell’s 2017 Athens-Kassel Ride. Integral to this work is The Transit of Hermes, the journey of a Greek Arravani horse named after the God of border crossings. How prescient…

Ross Birrell: The Transit of Hermes, CCA, 350 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow, G2 3JD, until June 3. Mon- Sat, 11am-6pm, Sun, noon-6pm