2. Walter Pater

Domestic Bliss
Director, Cinematographer, Editor

             Curator Katie Bruce talks about the exhibition Domestic Bliss, which presents works from Glasgow Museums’ collection reflecting on GoMA’s history as a former house, Royal Exchange and civic space. Observing how artists work with fine art, design and craft practices alongside social and political changes, the show explores domestic labour and feminism, public and private space, intimate relationships and historical narratives. We live in a consumerist world where home interior, lifestyle magazines and social media present flawless examples for us to emulate in our own lives. What happens if we question what is seen as ‘domestic bliss’, and whose stories are hidden or revealed?

‘I want to make something that lives with the eye as a beautiful piece of art, but on closer inspection, a polemic or an ideology will come out of it’. Grayson Perry

            Opening up the gallery space for the first time in a number of years Domestic Bliss experiments with domestic design and traditional museum displays. Works cluster together around themes, they are curious and ask questions about their role in public collections and what histories are hidden or revealed. Included in the exhibition are portraits of intimacy, domesticity and important stories from the collection. However, within this, questions are also asked about the relationship between the artist/maker, the sitter and the audience. These include questions around gaze, authorship and exploitation of marginalised lives that are more prevalent now in our current climate of social media thus creating a discourse on class, values, intersectionality, and documentary media.

Daphne Wright, Home Ornaments, 2002-2005 © the artist and courtesy of the artist and Frith Street Gallery

          Domestic Bliss began with the curator Katie Bruce interested in the work Untitled (Yellow Foot Sofa) by Nicola L (1937 – 2018), acquired in 1990 for Glasgow Museum’s collection, and thinking about the history of the building as home, exchange, library and museum.  The exhibition includes works from the fine art and decorative art collections that have never been shown at GoMA before alongside new acquisitions from Anne Collier and Siân Robinson Davies with more recently-displayed works such as Growing up as Boy by Grayson Perry,  Ice Cream Paperweight (Brown) by Scott Myles and Home Ornaments by Daphne Wright.

At the centre of the show is a reading table, which also functions as an event space responding to themes within the exhibition. Commissions from Camara Taylor and Mandy McIntosh include events that will begin to question the ‘domestic bliss’ the title of this exhibition alludes to. These and the public programme of discussions, talks and readings will inform display changes to the exhibition in the future.

Jane Evelyn Atwood, Chris Bramble, Thomas J Clapperton, Emmanuel Cooper, Anne Collier, Kate Davis, Jacqueline Donachie, Nick Evans, Alasdair Gray, Ilana Halperin, Jessie M King, Nicola L, Oscar Marzaroli, Mandy McIntosh and the Feegie Needlers, Scott Myles, Grayson Perry, Niki de Saint Phalle, Siân Robinson Davies, Jo Spence, Ettore Sottsass, Joel Sternfeld, Camara Taylor, Jane Topping, Hanneline Visnes, Nick Waplington, Daphne Wright.