Historic Drum to house Aberdeen art

  • Aberdeen Art Gallery will close for 18 months
  • Drum exhibition will run for two years
  • Artwork will be on display in previously unseen part of the castle

Deeside’s historic Drum Castle will house the Granite City’s modern art collection whilst Aberdeen Art Gallery undergoes redevelopment.

The £30 million redevelopment of Aberdeen Art Gallery has led to an innovative collaboration bringing contemporary art to the National Trust for Scotland property by Drumoak.

This is an exciting and innovative partnership.

Dr Alison Burke, Property Manager

Drum Castle will host key pieces of contemporary art from Aberdeen Art Gallery while the city centre attraction undergoes a major refurbishment.

Works from the city’s collection are being temporarily homed in a specially created gallery at the castle which will open to the public this Sunday, March 29, as part of a project to ensure works remain accessible to the public during the art gallery’s 18 month closure.

An area of the castle which has, until now, been unseen by the public has been specially adapted to host the works. The area, originally the castle’s long gallery, latterly the property manager’s accommodation, has been transformed into a museum-standard gallery and features more than 20 artworks on loan from the Aberdeen Art Gallery.

The curated selection is called ‘Human Presence’ and includes some of the gallery’s best known works, including ‘Gallowgate Lard’ by Ken Currie.

The exhibition will run for two years and complements the castle’s own artworks, including paintings by Joshua Reynolds and Henry Raeburn.

Property Manager at Drum Castle, Dr Alison Burke, said: “When we found out that Aberdeen Art Gallery was going to be refurbished, and we were looking at developing a gallery space, we thought it would be amazing if we could bring some of the art work here.

“This is an exciting and innovative partnership. Drum dates back to 1323 and is one of the oldest intact castles in Scotland. Visitors can now take a journey from the art and artefacts of the old castle to our amazing new gallery with seminal artworks featuring mid to late 20th Century figurative painting and contemporary installation works on the theme of Human Presence.”

The Art Gallery redevelopment aims to transform Aberdeen Art Gallery and Cowdray Hall into a world class cultural centre, celebrating art and music in the North-east, and to provide a focal point for the creative industries and Aberdeen’s Cultural Quarter. The Art Gallery is due to reopen in 2017.

The partnership with Drum, alongside projects at Aberdeen’s Maritime and Tolbooth Museums, play a major part in keeping art in the public eye during the refurbishment works, says Deputy Leader of Aberdeen City Council Councillor Marie Boulton.

She added: “By partnership working we are ensuring that the city’s collection will remain accessible to the public during the redevelopment.

“Aberdeen Art Gallery staff working with the National Trust for Scotland have led to an exhibition being created, which will show work from the city’s collection in a specially created gallery at Drum Castle.”

Among the highlights of the exhibition is ‘Highly Sprung’ by Julia Douglas, a dress made from 12,000 clothes peg springs; ‘Gallowgate Lard’, a ghost-like portrait by Ken Currie; and ‘Restraining Coat II (Female)’ by Julie Roberts, a painting which implies a human presence with no body in it.

For centuries Drum was the seat of Clan Irvine, with the building and its grounds granted to William de Irwyn in 1325 by Robert the Bruce. The castle remained in posession of Clan Irvine until 1975.

Normal castle admission charges apply for this temporary exhibition.