8th November, 2016
Open Letter To:
Sir Muir Russell (Chairman) and the Board of Trustees, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
Mr Simon Milne, Regius Keeper of Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
Ms Janet Archer, Chief Executive of Creative Scotland
Paul Nesbitt, Director of Exhibitions, Royal Botanical Garden Edinburgh
Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs
Roseanna Cunningham, Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform
Karen Bradley, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
Ben Macpherson (MSP)
Deidre Brock (MP)
Andrew Burns, Lesley Hinds and Richard Lewis of City of Edinburgh Council
Dear Sir Muir Russell, Mr Milne and Ms Archer,
We are shocked to learn of the decision taken by the Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) on the 5th of October 2016 to close Inverleith House as a contemporary art gallery from the 23rd of October 2016 without due consultation or warning. We, the undersigned, attest that Inverleith House is of the highest international standing and that its closure represents an enormous loss to Scottish culture.
Over the last thirty years, Inverleith House has attained a world-class reputation for both its programming and its incomparable beauty as a space for viewing contemporary art and botanical exhibitions. Paul Nesbitt and his team have shone a light on otherwise unseen archival botanical materials, nurtured Scottish artists at key moments in their careers and brought the work of ground breaking international artists to the United Kingdom. This remarkable achievement has been accomplished with minimal staffing and modest financial support.
While we accept that the future of Inverleith House falls within the jurisdiction of RBGE, we feel that its loss is of international cultural significance. In light of wide spread public dismay, we ask that the decision to bring to an end 30 years of contemporary art programming at Inverleith House be reopened for debate at the next meeting of the Board of Trustees in December of 2016 and that the wider community be given an opportunity to participate. We also urge the Board of Trustees of RBGE to work in cooperation with Creative Scotland to seek ways of securing the long-term future of Inverleith House as a contemporary art gallery, a future that reflects its 30 years of excellence in visual art and botanical programming. Inverleith House is not just a contemporary art gallery; it is a national treasure and an international beacon of our culture. Closing the doors of this cultural asset with no plans for the future of the building is unthinkable and leaves us all diminished.
We sign this letter in order to preserve its unique place in our culture for this and future generations.
Sam Ainsley, Hugh Allan, Carl Andre, Alessio Antoniolli, Richard Armstrong, Charles Asprey, David Austen, Simon Baker, Claire Barclay, Sara Barker, Kathy Battista,C. Allegra Berman, Pascale Berthier, Ulla Dreyfus-Best, Jon Bewley, Derek Boshier, Stella Bottai, Martin Boyce, Brian Boylan, Michael Bracewell, Irene Bradbury, Fiona Bradley, Christopher Breward. prof, Flora & Hugo McEwen Brooks, Cecily Brown, Glenn Brown, Katrina Brown. prof, Roddy Buchanan, Craig Burnett, Kath Roper-Caldbeck, Richard Calvocoressi, Scott P. Campbell, Marc Camille Chaimowicz, François Chantala, John Cheim, Angela Choon, Ruth Claxton, Dan Colen, Sadie Coles, Nathan Coley, Rhys Coren, Pauline Daly, Thomas Dane, Peter Davies, Jeremy Deller, Richard Demarco. prof, Robert Diament ,Tom Dingle, Mary Gail Doerhoefer, Anthony d’Offay, Graham Domke, Antony Donaldson, Alex Dordoy, Tracey Emin, Graham Fagen, Vincent Fecteau, Briony Fer, Russell Ferguson. prof, Kim Fisher, Pat Fisher, Luke Fowler, Paul Fryer, Larry Gagosian, Sasha Galitzine, Liam Gillick, Sarah Glennie, Jack Godfrey, Douglas Gordon. prof, Antony Gormley, Carol Gorner, Cornelia Grassi, Robert Dallas Gray, James Green, Jessica Green, Benjamin T Greenman, Elena Guena, Henrik Håkansson, Andrew Hamilton, Jane Hamlyn, Mark Handforth, Sara Harrison, Fran Healy, Margot Heller, Jennifer Higgie, Matthew Higgs, Susan Hiller, Rodolphe von Hofmannsthal, Darragh Hogan, Dr Pam Hogg, Christabel & Jools Holland, Carsten Höller, Andy Hope 1930, Louise Hopkins, Mark Hudson, Richard Hughes, Susannah Hyman, Richard Ingleby, Florence Ingleby, Callum Innes, Johanna Jackson, Chantal Joffe, Chris Johanson, Peter St John, Jörg Johnen, Alan Johnston, Dame Julia Peyton-Jones, Michael Joo, Isaac Julien, Anish Kapoor, Andrew Kerr, Johnnie Shand Kydd, Val Kilmer, Tarka Kings, Kasper Konig, Harmony Korine, Marie-Louise Laband, Edgar Laguinia, Fred Lamb, Jim Lambie, Mark Leckey, Marsha Nuriya Lee, Helen Legg, Caoimhín Mac Giolla Léith, Clare Lilley, James Lingwood, Jenni Lomax. OBE, Rose Lord, Amanda Love, Donna Lynas, Erin Manns, Sir Michael Craig-Martin, Susan May, Jack McConville, Robert McDowell, Adam McEwen, John McEwen, Samantha McEwen, Ewan McGregor, Victoria Miguel, Adam Barker-Mill, Carolyn Barker-Mill, Jake Miller, Victoria Miro, Clare Morris, Frances Morris, Lynda Morris. prof, Victoria Morton, Scott Myles, Andrew Nairne, Valeria Napoleone, David Nash. OBE RA, Mark Nash, Emma Nicolson, Paul Noble, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Roman Ondak, Francis Outred, Laura Owens, Roger Palmer. prof, Cornelia Parker, Jeremy Parker, Vicken Parsons, Toby Paterson, Rhona Warwick Paterson, Andrew Patrizi. prof, Dougie Payne, Simon Periton, Ciara Phillips, Janet Street-Porter. CBE, Finley Quaye, Ian Rankin, Urs Raussmüller, Howard Read, Richard Riley, Hannah Robinson, Morven Rodger, Nicola Del Roscio, Caroline Roux, Ed Ruscha, Richard Salmon, Christel Sauer, Conrad Shawcross, Colin Self, Anne Seymour, Amanda Sharp, Adam Sheffer, Jessica Rosemary Shepherd, John Shield, Victoria Siddall, Laura Sillars, Kirstie Skinner, Matthew Slotover, Ali Smith, Dave Smith, Philip Larratt-Smith, Roberta Gordon-Smith, Dr Shirley Sherwood OBE, Kathleen Soriano, Monika Sosnowska, Polly Staple, Simon Starling, Georgina Starr, Lachie Stewart, Michael Stumpf, Spencer Sweeney, Jonty Tarbuck, Joanne Tatham, Timothy Taylor, Robert Therrien, Sam Thorne, Mayo & Maria Thompson, Jurgen Teller, Jeremy Till. prof, Sue Tompkins, Hanneline Visnes, Sheena Wagstaff, Amanda Wakeley. OBE, Gary Waterston, Alison Watt, Toby Webster, Lawrence Weiner, Irvine Welsh, Jane Wentworth, Richard Wentworth. CBE, Andrew Wheatley, Rachel Whiteread, Zoë Wycombe. prof, Alison Wilding, Michael Wilkinson, Ealan Wingate, Adrian Wiszniewski, Gregor Wright, Richard Wright, Jackie Wullschlager, Caroline Younger, Elaine Tam, Sorcha Richardson, Katharina Grosse, Laura Cumming, Sarah Lowndes, The Earl of Dalhousie, The Countess of Dalhousie, Penelope Millar, Mathew & Lulu Benson, Lucy Skaer, Prue O'Day, Ann Gallagher, Pia Maria Simig, Kadee Robbins, Alex Farquharson, Judith Nesbitt, Francesco Manacorda, Achim Borchardt-Hume, Simon Grant, Erica Bolton, Evan Parker, Steve McQueen, Neville Wakefield, Mary Dean, Sarah Perks, Iwona Blazwick. OBE, Dave Moutrey, Seonaid Daly, Corin Sworn, Ciara Phillips, Stefan Ratibor, The Young Fathers, Cindy Sherman, Joel Wachs, Penelope Curtis, David Roberts, Mary McCartney, Julia Lenz, Roni Horn, Laura Kuhn, Jay Jopling, Jessica Morgan, Dominic Molon, Richard Long, Sharleen Spiteri, Siobhan & Alexander Dundee, Richard Rogers, Phyllidia Barlow, David Anfam