A host of famous names from the world of arts and entertainment are today (Dec 31, 2011) celebrating the 90th birthday of Scots artist George Wyllie.
Wyllie is best known for his Straw Locomotive and Paper Boat installations as well as the Running Clock outside Glasgow’s Buchanan Street bus station.
The Friends of George Wyllie yesterday presented the artist, who says he puts a question at the heart of everything he creates, with a question mark shaped cake ahead of his big day today.
His daughter, Louise Wyllie, also announced they are to be joined by stars such as Alan Cumming, Sir Sean Connery, Bill Paterson, Liz Lochhead and Murray Grigor for a year of celebrations of his life and work, The Whysman Festival (www.whysman.co.uk) in 2012.
X-Men star Alan Cumming said: “I have admired George's work since 1987 when he stunned Glasgow with a straw locomotive hanging from the Finnieston Crane. It was an act of whimsy, bravado and passion that connected on an emotional level with the Scottish people. It changed my view of what art could be.”
In 1990, Glasgow-born Wyllie’s Paper Boat was seen by millions as it sailed around the world from Glasgow to New York and back to Scotland. It even made it onto the front page of the Wall Street Journal when it berthed at the World Financial Center in New York.
The Friends of George Wyllie, set up by the artist’s daughters, are now working on ways of securing funding for the Whysman Festival after being turned down by Creative Scotland. One of the highlights of the year is the first ever major retrospective in Wyllie’s home city in November 2012.
Film maker Murray Grigor, who describes Wyllie as ‘one of the most popular yet officially misunderstood artists in Scotland,’ has also released a new DVD of his award-winning 1990 film for Channel 4, The Why?sMan, starring actor Bill Paterson, in time for his old friend’s landmark birthday.
Sir Sean Connery, who first met Wyllie in the 1970s, says of Grigor’s film: “George Wyllie welds the humour of Chic Murray into art works which are once surrealist and wry reflections on our current loss of engineering innovation, which once made the West of Scotland the workshop of the world.”
Louise Wyllie said: “When my father went into a care home, my sister and I were left with the task of looking after his legacy. The Whysman Festival will start this process off in a very George Wyllie-esque way.
“We are keeping my father updated and he is pleased to think his work will be reaching out to people again. That’s what he has always been about. There’s a generation of young people who don’t know about my father’s work. We want to change that.”
For further information contact:
All 90th birthday images of George Wyllie ©Alan Peebles (07973 706009)
NOTE TO EDITORS:
- The Whysman Festival will take place during 2012 and has been instigated by The Friends of George Wyllie, set up by Louise Wyllie and Elaine Aitken to promote and protect their father’s legacy. It is being carried out in partnership with Glasgow Life and The Collins Gallery.
- A new website www.whysman.co.uk has been created for the Whysman Festival. To sign up to news alerts, including news of a forthcoming one-off sale of 90 originals drawings by George Wyllie for £90 each.
- Membership of George’s Chum Club membership costs £20. Benefits include; invitations to exhibitions openings and events, free e-newsletters, advance notice of all events, exclusive offers, advance ticketing for all events and a free gift from the Wyllie museum
- A book of Wyllie’s poetry, Some Serious, Some Not, Some Not Even That, will be published in March, featuring a foreword Liz Lochhead. The Scots Makar wrote a poem for Wyllie’s 75th birthday in 1996, called A Wee Multitude of Questions for George Wyllie.
- For details of how to buy the DVD of Murray Grigor’s award-winning film, The Why?sMan: In Pursuit of the Question Mark with George Wyllie and Bill Paterson, see www.whysman.com
Stones of Scotland
Poorhouse Doors Installation with Joseph Beuys Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (Edinburgh International Festival 1981)
Buchanan Galleries - Divine Rhythm Mural (with Dawson Murray)
The Millennium Garden Spire, Monument to Maternity, Rottenrow
Outside Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum, Wee Puffer
Running Clock, Buchanan bus station
Near Thurso, Northern Vent
Paper Boat fabric was used to make a tern, which ended up here near Stornoway Airport. George also made a visit to Gruinard in 1990.
Life Cycle, Deansgate
Temple, Royce Park, Moss-side
Clean Sweep, Northern Quarter
Deer scul?ture, Hattersely
The Burns Line, Burns Museum
Crinan Hotel, Argyll
General Accident HQ