Grayson Perry and Anish Kapoor Among Artists to Sell Work From ‘Ashes’ of Glasgow School of Art

The 'Ash to Art' initiative will raise money to benefit the school's reconstruction.

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 31: Grayson Perry attends the Harper's Bazaar Women of the Year Awards 2016 at Claridge's Hotel on October 31, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Harper's Bazaar)

After the Glasgow School of Art—including its world-famous Mackintosh Building—was ravaged by fire in May of 2014, the school sent debris from the damaged site to 25 international artists in order to create new works that would eventually be sold at an auction benefiting reconstruction.

Artists participating in the initiative include Antony Gormley, Anish Kapoor, Simon Starling, Grayson Perry, Cornelia Parker, Jenny Saville, David Shrigley, Douglas Gordon, the Chapman Brothers and Sir Peter Blake. Seven of the artists are Turner-prize winners.

Each piece of material sent was chosen specifically for each artist. A note was attached explaining its history and the purpose of the auction, whose proceeds will go towards the Mackintosh Campus Appeal. The aim is to raise £32 million ($40 million).

For the project, titled Ash to Art, Perry has created an urn saying, “Art is dead. Long live Art.”

“I was very excited when I received the box of charcoal. I had an idea almost immediately and the idea of making an urn was an obvious thing to do,” said Grayson Perry to the BBC. “The idea of memorializing or celebrating the difficulty—honoring the wound. It’s something I’m trying to do. Move on and make the most of it.”

He continued, “I really like the idea of using the charcoal from the fire. I thought it was very clever. It’s also fresh—it’s not something that has come up before.”

Forensic archaeologist Owen Godbert sifts through the ashes of the fire damaged Mackintosh Library at the Glasgow School of Art on November 18, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland. Photo Courtesy Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images.

Forensic archaeologist Owen Godbert sifts through the ashes of the fire damaged Mackintosh Library at the Glasgow School of Art on November 18, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland. Photo Courtesy Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images.

Ash To Art was conceived by communications agency J. Walter Thompson London in collaboration with the Glasgow School of Art Development Trust. So far, the Mackintosh Campus Appeal has raised £18.5 million ($23.2 million).

The final pieces will go on display at Christie’s in London from March 3-7, and will be auctioned during the Post-War and Contemporary Art Day Sale on March 8.

Spanning several mediums—including sculpture, photography, drawing and painting—all the works have been created from the fire’s damage, from charred timber and debris to books and furniture.

Professor Tom Inns, director of the Glasgow School of Art, said, “It has been a pleasure to work with the creative team at J. Walter Thompson London over the last two years on this imaginative initiative that will help in our efforts to raise the £32m required to make our vision a reality.”


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