Gallery of Modern Art
Sitting in the middle of the Royal Exchange Square, between Buchanan Street and Queen Street is an impressive neoclassical building, surrounded by cafes during the summer months and by a artificial sky of winter lights during the darker months. The Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA) is the home of Glasgow’s contemporary art, the second most visited art gallery of its kind in the UK outside the Tate Modern Gallery in London, and like most of Glasgow’s public museums, entrance is free.
The neoclassical building was originally built in 1778 as a townhouse for a wealthy local tobacco lord, William Cunninghame of Lainshaw. Since then it has changed hands several times: it was purchased by the Royal Bank of Scotland 1817, after which it housed the Royal Exchange from 1832, when extensive reconstruction and additions were finished and the pillars, cupola and large hall added. Stirling’s Library took over the building in 1954, until in 1996 it became the home for contemporary art in Glasgow.
Glasgow Trivia #20: Outside the GoMA sits one of Glasgow’s most infamous landmarks, a statue of the Duke of Wellington on horseback (erected 1844). The orange traffic cone which the Duke is sporting in the photo above is put up there pretty much every weekend, and city authorities regularly remove the traffic cone, only to have it reappear, without fail, every weekend. Even with this ongoing battle, the Duke and his hat have featured on numerous tourist guidebooks and books on Glasgow, apparently even on some financed and supported by the City Council. On occasion the horse too might be sporting a pair of sunglasses.
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