When it’s the weekend and it’s sunny and you’re feeling the lazy Sunday vibes, a visit to the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art is a must. Unlike its sisters the National Portrait Gallery and the The Scottish National Gallery, it is a little further out of town, but it’s definitely worth the trip.
The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art is in fact not one gallery but two, located across the road from each other in Edinburgh’s West End. Entry to both is free of charge, although donations are always welcome and there is sometimes a mandatory fee for special exhibitions.
Underneath a reassuring neon sign that says “Everything is Going to be Alright”, you’ll find the entrance to Modern One. The displays change fairly regularly, but on my last visit there was a fascinating exhibition of fun pop art from the latter part of the last century, which was really fun to explore.
However, the sun was shining and I was reluctant to stay inside, so it wasn’t long before I was drawn back out into the open air. Fortunately the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art is a great place to visit even on a sunny day, because quite a few of the artworks on display are actually permanent installations in the expansive green and lush parkland that surrounds the galleries.
One of my favourites is called ‘Landform’ by Charles Jencks (pictured above), which is a small mound accompanied by several beautiful crescent shaped ponds. On sunny day’s it’s not uncommon to spot couples and families on its banks, soaking up the sunshine.
Previously known as the Dean Gallery, the second space of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art has the functional name Modern Two. I get a more pessimistic feel from this gallery, probably due to the ominous sign on its lawn – ‘There Will Be No Miracles Here’.
Again, I really like wandering around this gallery, which plays host to some cracking exhibitions. The last one I went to was a collection of works by M.C Escher, where I had a very pleasant afternoon wandering around his mind-bending works. The exhibition has since closed unfortunately, but there is always something worth seeing in this lovely gallery, including a fantastic collection of surrealist work on display.
To enjoy this whole complex to its fullest, I would put aside at least half a day, but as it’s free of charge to pop in an explore, there’s nothing stopping you popping in and out as you please. If you want to avoid art overload then you might want to pop into Modern One the first day and Modern Two the next, but as they are so close to each other it is very tempting to do them both in one go! However you do it, the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art is a fantastic day to spend a day in Edinburgh, rain or shine.
The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art Galleries Modern One and Modern Two (website) are right across the road from one another on Belford Road, EH4 3DR. You can get a bus to the West End, get off at Atholl Place and walk up Palmerston Place, or alternatively you can walk straight there from the city centre by a lovely 15 minute stroll through the West End and Dean Village.