About the Gallery of Modern Art

The story of GoMA
An extensive modern and contemporary art collection with local and international artworks alongside permanent and temporary exhibitions featuring events with artists.

The Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA) opened in 1996 and is housed in an early 19th Century neoclassical building in Glasgow city centre. It displays art by local, UK and international artists and delivers opportunities to engage with this work through a programme of workshops, events and projects.

Modern and contemporary works from Glasgow Museums’ collection are on display in the museum alongside a programme of temporary exhibitions. Displays are drawn from the collection of art post 1945, and include paintings, sculpture, drawings, prints, photographs, video and installation work with a focus on Glasgow-based artists.

When GoMA opened, collection work by artists Niki de Saint Phalle, Bruce Lacey, Jo Spence, Mathias Kauage, Steven Campbell and Bridget Riley were shown. Since 2000 Glasgow Museums has collected work for changing displays by recent Turner Prize winners and artists who have represented Scotland or the UK at the Venice Biennale. These include Douglas Gordon, Elizabeth Price, Charlotte Prodger, Alberta Whittle, John Akomfrah and Martin Boyce.

Glasgow Museums, in partnership with The Common Guild, were awarded an Art Fund International grant (2007-2012). This made possible exciting purchases of works by international artists to provide a context for our contemporary Scottish collection which continues with acquisitions today. Artists include Barbara Kruger, Wolfgang Tillmans, Lawrence Weiner, Hito Steyerl and Emily Jacir.

The gallery has an active GoMA Youth Group programme, and COMMONSpace in Gallery 2 shows the work of collaborative arts projects involving community groups and artists.

GoMA is in the former Royal Exchange of Glasgow building that was funded with proceeds from the labour of enslaved people on plantations. The Royal Exchange was constructed on the site of the house built by ‘Tobacco Lord’ William Cunninghame.  Racism has its roots in transatlantic slavery and colonialism. Both of these systems existed on the premise that white people were superior to everyone else and these systems have been crucial in the development of Glasgow as a city, as well as its museums.

For further information and the ongoing work to acknowledge the impact of this please see the Legacies of Empire and slavery in Glasgow Museums blog.

For the history of the GoMA building please see Stones Steeped in History