In October 1911 the Russian artist, Wassily Kandinsky, completed in German the manuscript of a little book that he called “Über das Geistige in der Kunst” – usually translated as Concerning the Spiritual in Art. A small but international centenary celebration conference was curated by Alastair McIntosh. It was hosted by community groups in an area of Glasgow that suffers from high unemployment and many social problems, but which retains a powerful community spirit and much artistic talent. Like Kandinsky’s book the conference seeked not to promote “art for art’s sake”, but like the Russian Peredvizhniki school of “wanderers” or “itinerants”, to explore “art as service”. With keynote speakers including leading art experts and the Chief Medical Officer for Scotland, we explored how art can speak in places of poverty today. The conference challenged the narcissistic nihilism of contemporary art forms that have turned their backs on beauty and, perhaps arguably, lost sight of art’s deepest function.
Materials relating to the conference, including the prospectus, background reading, and links to media can be found on the conference curator’s website by clicking on the following link: