What is the Demarco Archive and why is it such an important asset for European culture?
Richard Demarco and Joseph Beuys share a joke at Edinburgh College of Art -'Strategy: Get Arts' (1970)
Photo by George Oliver
W h a t i s t h e D e m a r c o A r c h i v e ?
1. A collection of 4500 contemporary artworks created by a miscellany of British and European painters, sculptors and printmakers, either donated or 'bought in' from our exhibitions of their work.
2. Over a million photographs of people, performances and events, mostly taken by Richard Demarco himself. Dundee University digitized 10,000 of these in 2005 with the aid of a substantial AHRC grant.
3. A vast quantity of correspondance with artists and galleries, universities, secondary schools, theatres and libraries world wide accumulated over a period of 60 years.
4. Unique film footage of artistic events eg. Beuys on Rannoch Moor, Paul Neagu in the Grampian Television studio Aberdeen, Cricot 2 Theatre Productions in Edinburgh's Forresthill Poorhouse directed by Tadeusz Kantor.
5. A library of exhibitions catalogues, books, magazines and theatre programmes in various European languages, some very rare. As well as Demarco Gallery and Traverse Theatre and Gallery publications.
How can you help?
The original not-for-profit Richard Demarco Gallery Limited Company was renamed Demarco Archive Trust in 2005 and is registered Scottish Charity, with the remit of maintaining and developing the archive as an unique educational resource. Current exhibitions are organised and curated by Richard Demarco in collaboration with Tery Ann Newman.
Become a Friend of the Demarco Archive Trust and help us in the mammoth task of conserving and developing the Archive into a form which can be accessed by secondary schools, Universities and the general public both in Britain and abroad.
Please ask for a donation/membership application form from
Demarco Archive Trust Ltd, Summerhall,
1 Summerhall, Edinburgh, EH9 1PL
DAT is Scottish Charity no SC008257 which means it is eligible for Gift Aid on your donation if you are a British Taxpayer.
All the DAT trustees are voluntary and therefore unpaid.
This website is compiled from a text by John Martin and Richard Demarco.
All photographs © Demarco Archive, except those credited in the relevant captions.
This is a portrait drawing of Richard Demarco by Paul Neagu dated 1976 and inspired by Neagu's participation in Richard Demarco's 'Edinburgh Arts Expeditions'.
Paul Neagu intilted this drawing 'Going Tornado' as a hommage to Richard Demarco and his concept of an experimental university of all the arts, which was established under the aegis of the Richard Demarco Gallery in 1972 with The University of Edinburgh. Paul Neagu's drawing is inspired by Edinburgh Art's programme from 1972 to 1976.
The Road to Meikle Seggie - map by Richard Demarco exhibited in the 2007 Royal Scottish Academy Summer Exhibition, showing expeditions he led to introduce artists to the physical reality of Scotland.
S o m e Q u o t e s
When the Gallery opened in 1966, the art critic, John Russel, wrote in the 'Sunday Times' "... if a quarter of Mr Demarco's projects come to fruition, he will have done, singlehandedly, what the entire resources of the Festival have neglected to do this past twenty years; he will, that is to say, have substituted today for yesterday in Edinburgh's aesthetic awareness."
"I only wish the Richard Demarco Gallery had been in existence when I was running the Edinburgh Festival as I believe this kind of dynamism would have transformed our possibilities s far as the visual arts are concerned"
1965, The Earl of Harewood
"Richard Demarco is without doubt a remarkable man, an Italian Scot, a founder of the Traverse Theater, a man who is an artist, a writer, a philosopher. He is a man who brought contemporary visual arts to the Edinburgh Festival. He has been involved in more than fifty Edinburgh Festivals, and he brought great artists like Joseph Beuys and Kantor to thousands of people. He has also brought the visual arts from other parts of the world, from Eastern Europe, long before other people were interested. And he's inspired us to take extraordinary journeys in the mind, journeys across Europe, journeys that he calls the road to Meikle Seggie."
Sir Nicholas Serota, London, March 2000
Picture of Richard Demarco with Ian Finlay at Little Sparta (2003) This is a Gesamtkunstwerk in
the form of a philosopher's garden located in the Lanarkshire 30 miles south of Edinburgh. It has
transformed Stonypath Farm and surrounding farmscapes into an unique work of art, resulting
from the collaboration of Ian Hamilton Finlay and his wife Sue Finlay.
The Demarco Archive is essentially a collaborative art work - a Gesamtkunstwerk - made by countless visual and performing artists. To these 'professionals' must be added those who have revealed the creative potential in all of us, not only as adult but, for example, as the Primary School artists of Room 13. As Joseph Beuys famously said, 'Everyone in an artist'.
My own contribution to this Beuysian definition is as watercolourist and an exponent of a new genre of conremporary art known as 'Event Photography'. This is where the camera is used as an instrument which amplifies the work of other artists such as Beuys, Uecker and Ritcher. I introduced them to the Edinburgh Festival in 1970 in the exhibition of 35 artists with the palindromic title 'Strategy : Get Arts'.
This exhibition was followed by successive Festival exhibitions of Romanian, Polish, Austrian, French and Yugoslav contemporary art. In 1972, this led to our first 'Edinburgh Arts' expedition in collaboration with Edinburgh University inspired by the Bauhaus and Black Mountain College.
My work as Director of the Official Edinburgh Festival exhibition programmes of contemporary art from 1967 to 1991 led to my appointement as Kingston University's Professor of European Cultural Studies from 1993-2000. This led to 'Edinburgh Arts'. This was the title given to the Demarco Gallery programmes' focused on the concept of an experimental university of all the Arts in collaboration with Edinburgh University. It involved the European Youth Parliament in 1995. 'Edinburgh Arts' provided an alternative learning space in exploring the physical landscape of Europe in contrast to the urban spaces in which most art gallerys and theatres are located.
All those journeys traverse 'The Road to Meikle Seggie', that is a drovers' road for cattle and sheep to a farm in Scotland's Ochil Hills. It also leads to all the drovers' roads linking the British Isles with the European Continent. It certainly leads to the small town of my Italian forebears, high in the Appenine Mountains. This is Picinisco, known for its shepherds, located a few miles from the Monastery of Monte Cassino, the land of St. Benedict as Patron of Europe.
Richard Demarco - June 2014
Professor RICHARD DEMARCO, C.B.E., O.B.E., H.R.S.A., R.S.W.,
F.R.S.A., Hon. F.E.C.A., Hon. F.R.I.A.S., Hon. R.W.S., S.S.A. (Hon. President)
Appointements and awards
Completed 6 year course of study at Holy Cross Academy 1949
Completed 4 year course of studies in Fine Art and Design at Edinburgh College of Art 1953
Served in the Royal Army Educational Corps 1954-1956
Art Master, Duns Scotus Academy, Edinburgh 1957-1967
Lecturer in Design, Edinburgh College of Art 1962
Vice-Chairman Traverse Theater 1963-1967
Founder and director Traverse Theater Gallery 1963-1967
Director The Richard Demarco Gallery 1966-1992
Elected Society of Scottish Artists 1967
Appointed Director of Edinburgh Festival Contemporary Art exhibition programme 1967
Elected Member of Royal Scottish Society of Watercolour Painters 1969 RSW
Director of Sean Connery's International Education Trust 1972-3
Governor, Carlisle School of Art 1973-4
Appointed Kentucky Colonel 1974
Recipient of the Scottish Arts Council £2,000 award 1974
Awarded Polish Gold Order of Merit 1076
Appointed Officer of the British Empire (O.B.E) 1984
External Examiner, Stourbridge School of Art 1987-90
Appointed Cavaliere della Republica d'Italia 1988
Recipient of 'Scotland on Sunday' Critics Award for contribution to the visual arts
programme of the Edinburgh Festival 1988
External Examiner, Wolverhampton School of Art 1990
Honorary Fellow, Royal Incorporation of Architects of Scotland (HFRIAS) 1991
British International Institute of Theatre Awards 1992
Polish International Institute of Theatre Awards 1992
Director Demarco European Art Foundation 1993-
Professor of European Cultur Studies, Kingstone University 1993-2000
Honorary Doctorate of Fine Art, Atlanta College of Art 1993
Trustee, Kingston Demarco European Cultural Foundation 1993
Awarded Picker Fellow, Kingston Polytechnic 1993-4
Awarded Glasgow Royal Philosophical Society Arts Medal 1995
Delivered the Adam Smith Lecture, Fife College 1995
Appointed Chevalier des Arts et Lettres de France 1996
Appointed Commander of the Order of St. Lazarus 1996
Awarded Honorary Doctorate of Law, Dundee University 1996
Elected Honorary Member of Scottish Arts Club 1996
Elected Honorary Fellow Institute of Contemporary Scotland 1998
Appointed Green Cross Trustee 1998
Elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts 1998
Appointed Professor Emeritus European Cultural Studies Kingston University 2000
Elected Honorary Vice-President The Rose Theatre, Kingston-Upon-Thames 2000
Elected Honoray Royal Scottish Academician 2001
Delivered 'The Discovery Lecture' Dundee University 2003
Elected Honorary Member of the Royal Watercolour Society 2006
Awarded Honorary Doctorate from Wroclaw Academy of Fine Art 2006
Appointed to the Office of Commander of the British Empire C.B.E. 2007
Appointed Honorary Visiting Professor of Fine Art, Dundee University 2007
Awarded Silver 'Gloria Artis' Medal by Minister of Culture of Poland 2007
Awarded Honorary Doctorate, Stirling University 2007
Elected Honorary Fellow of Edinburgh College of Art 2008
Awarded Honorary Citizenship of the City of Lodz 2008
Awarded Pillar of Leith Silver Medal 2008
Awarded Honorary Fellowship at Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance 2010
Delivered Sir Gillies Annual Lecture at The Royal Scottish Academy 2010
Awarded The German Order of Merit 2010
Awarded The Polish 'Bene Merito' Medal 2010
Awarded Honorary Doctorate from Southampton Solent University 2011
Awarded Glenfiddich Artists of the Year 2011
Awarded The Gold 'Gloria Artis' Medal of Poland 2012
Awarded The Order of Merit for Culture of Romania 2012
Awarded the Great Scot for the Arts 2012
Awarded in London 17/100 Great Scot 2013
Voted Citizen European of the Year 2013
Awarded Edinburgh Citizen Prize 2013
Received The Edinburgh Award at Edinburgh City Chambers 2014
Awarded Honorary Doctorate from Leeds Beckett University 2016
The poster for the Demarco Archive exhibition at the 2007 Sibiu Festival in Romania. It involved four Royal Scottish Academy sculptors in fruitfull dialogue with three Romanian artists: Paul Neagu, Ion Bitzan and Horia Bernia.
Richard Demarco's sketch of Sasha Hails and Rachel Weisz in
an award wining Cambridge University production of 'Talking Tongues', a play directed by Cambridge University play presented for the Richard Demarco Edinburgh Festival Theatre Porgramme 2007.
'French Spring' artists and critics on the road to Meikle Seggie at the
memorial to Maggie Wall at Dunning 'burnt here as a witch 1657'
Damien Hirst's sculptural installation for the opera 'Agongo' at the
Demarco Gallery in St. Mary's School (Edinburgh Festival 1994).
Yvette Bozsik from Budapest dancing with Sasha Hails at Dundee Rep. as
part of the Demarco Edinburgh Festival (1995).
'Demarco's Festival' at National Portrait Gallery (2007).
Below: Tuzla Youth Theatre performs at the Gallery's St. Mary School venue (1995)
A 1982 Demarco exhibition at the Fruitmarket Gallery presented in collaboration with the Scottish Arts Council, the Lodz Bureau of Exhibitions and the Polish Cultural Institute, London.
1 9 6 0 ' s : T r a v e r s e. G a l l e r y & D e m a r c o G a l l e r y ( M e l v i l l e C r e s c e n t )
The Traverse Theatre Club
Opened January 1963 in a former lodging house off edinburgh's Royal Mile. Its aim was to present a regular programme of contemporary international drama (in very basic surrondings). Richard Demarco and friends, Jim Haynes and John Calder, were among many volunteers who set it up. Membership was unrestricted and cosmopolitan and its club status protected the plays presented from the scrutiny of the censor. Its adventurous programme made the Club very popular and Demarco soon established The Traverses Theater Art Gallery on the floor above the theatre and in other venues as requiered.
The Richard Demarco Gallery
Established in 1966 in a townhouse in Edinburgh's Melville Crescent in order to build on Richard's success with the Traverse Gallery (permission to use the Traverse name had been refused by the Club). In addition to a regular programme of shows by young Scottish and international artists and performers, the Gallery presented a UK-wide painting competition -'Edinburgh Open 100'; restrospective exhibitions by John Piper, Alan Davie, Patrick Heron and Arthur Boyd; Italian artists from the collection of the National Gallery in Rome; and 'Canada 101', a show of 22 Canadian artists. At the same time, the Gallery presented a programme of plays, pantomimes, recitals, poetry and other entertainements.
In the 1970s, the Gallery's philosophy and premises changed but a series of 'blockbuster' Edinburgh International Festival exhibitions, starting with 'Strategy: Get Arts' -Beuys, Ritcher, Uecker and 32 other artists from Dusseldorf- and followed by contemporary art from Romania, Poland, Yugoslavia, Austria, etc. which kept the
Portrait of Richard Demarco by Barbara Balmer (SNPG collection)
ND National flags of Romania, Italy, Poland & Scotland
Gallery in the limelight at Festival time.
Another Great Demarco innovation was artistic expeditions in an old sailing ship under the banner of 'Edinburgh Arts', starting in 1972.
In 1984, another Demarco Festival milestone was ANZART - contemporary artists from Australia and New Zealand, coming together for the first time for a joint international exhibition.
International conferences were also promoted during Edinburgh Festivals on themes such as 'Housing the Arts in the 21st Century'.
The Gallery changed premises many times during the 1980s and 90s, notably Blackfriairs Street in an old church. One of our last exhibitions there was Uecker's magnificent 'Pictlandgarden' from which he donated the sale proceeds of one of his nail paintings to help the Gallery's finances. The Gallery's artistic work was continued from 1992 by the newly-formed Demarco European Art Foundation. In 1995, part of The Demarco Archive was bought by the National Galleries of Scotland. In 1998, we transfered from the redundant St Mary's School in Albany Street to New Parliamant House on Calton Hill to present a
Three of the many comprehensive catalogues published by the Demarco Gallery in the 1960s.
Paul Neagu performing 'Going Tornado' as part of Grampian Television's programme 'Images' dircted by Robert Hird.
Grampian Television Studios. Edinburgh Arts, 1974. NB, Metronome.
1 9 7 0 ' s : M e l v i l l e C r e s c e n t & E d i n b u r g h A r t C o l l e g e
Comprehensive artistic programme involving The European Youth Parliament. In 2005, we were able to show the Archive collection for the first time in a newly built barn at Skateraw Farm, near Torness Nuclear Power Station near Dunbar. Further moves to Edinburgh's Telford College and Craigcrook Castle preced our present location at Summerhall.
Above: Blinkie Palermo painting the frieze of
Edinburgh College of Art's main stairway 'Strategy:
Get Arts' 1970. After the exhibition his work was
oblitered. It has recently been restored!
Left: Two of the many single sheet catalogues
produced for smaller exhibitions - Paul Neagu and
Ian Hamilton Finlay.
Below: Drawing by Alan Davie from the Gallery's
Left: The Cover of 'Strategy: Get Arts' large format
catalogue (1970). The title is a palindrome.
1 9 8 0 ' s : B l a c f r i a r s S t r e e t & E C A
Left: Motif from the catalogue for the 1984 Edinburgh Festival 'ANZART' exhibition at Edinburgh College of Art. Demarco was invited to tour Australia and New Zealand and chose the artists he wanted to take part. The NZ group 'From scratch' played elongated 'digerydoos' in the college sculpture court. William McCahon exhibited in Edinburgh University's Talbot Rice Gallery. Simultaneously The Demarco Gallery presented 'Bougé', an exhibition of modern french photography at Edinburgh's French Institute.
Right: The Demarco Gallery arranged exchange exhibitions with Poland's leading independant gallery, The Foksal in Warsaw; shown here is the cover of one of their catalogues.
2 0 0 0 ' s : S k a t e r a w , D u n b a r
In 2005 East Lothian farmer and seed merchant John Watson offered us accomodation in a newly-built storage barn at Skateraw farm near Dunbar. This was the first occasion on which the Whole Demarco Archive could be exhibited in one location (although much of the literature and correspondance was still stored in boxes). Visitors found the display of so much contemporary art in one space almost overwhelming. The wall on the right of this Glyn Satterly picture consisted of long strips of white paper hung roof to floor bearing photographs of events and people through the Gallery's history taken and hand-captioned by Demarco.
The picture on the left shows a 6-minute video loop projected from Skateraw onto the end wall of Torness Power Station in February 2006. The film 'Lumin de Lumine' was made by Ken McMullen and scientists at CERN in Switzerland and depicts a yong woman in a red dress swinging a light around her head in a disused ISR tunel. The projection was a considerable technical feat.
S o m e E v e n t s 1 9 6 0 ' s
Above: An early 'Friends of The Demarco Gallery' event. In 1967 25 friends flew to Dublin for the private view of 'ROSC' contemporary art exhibition which featured work by Matisse, Picasso, Warhol, Lichtenstein, Uecker, Latham, etc. Pictured as artists Gunnie Moberg and Tam MacPhail accompanied by Willem Sandberg. Director of the Stedeljyk Museum, Amsterdam and
a member of the ROSC jury.
Right: Clarinettist Alan Hacker performing music by Harisson Birtwistle in a specially constructed setting by Keith Critchlow, complementary to 'Strategy: Get Arts' exhibition at Edinburgh College of Art (1970).
Below: Richard Demarco showing Joseph Beuys ill-advised reforestation on the hills above Loch Awe, in an environement associated with the oak tree's sacred presence, en route to the Moor of Rannoch and beyond to the world of Fingal and Ossian and the Island of Staffa. It seemed invevitable that Beuys' '7000 eichen' project should be influenced by this visit. Photo Sally Holman.
Above: From time to time the Melville Crescent gallery was used as a venue for theatre and recitals. Here Nancy Meckler directs her Freehold Theatre interpretation of the classical play 'Antigone' with actors Stephen Rea and
Below: a youthful Günther Uecker contemplates his mechanism for the regular slamming of a studio door in the cavernous Edinburgh College of Art - 1970 Festival venue of 'Strategy: Get Arts
S o m e E v e n t s 1 9 7 0 s
Above: Edinburgh Festival 1979, Tadeusz Kantor Cricot II production of 'The Dead Class', the third of their theatre productions at the Foresthill 'Poorhouse' during the 70's - 'The Water Hen' 1972; 'Lovelies and Dowdies' 1973
Top: Magdalena Abakanowicz hauls on her rope
sculpture connecting St. Mary's Episcopal Cathedral with the façade of the Demarco Gallery in Melville Crescent - which is also the site (below) of Joseph Szajna's Auschwitz installation.
Left: 'Atelier 72' poster for the exhibition of 43 Polish artists at the Demarco Gallery in Melville Crescent.The exhibitors included: Abakanowicz, Borowski, Bruszewski, Drozdz, Hasior, Kantor/CricotII, Kamoji, Kozlowska, Krasinski, Lach Lachowicz, Makarewicz, Nowesielski, Opalka, Schaffer, Stangret, Stazewski and Szajna.
Below: Sean Connery with members of the Polish
National Film School and Gallery staff outside 8
In the Moenchengladbach Museum, Joseph Beuys points to the 'Demarco Poorhouse Doors' (from Forresthill) and the 'Jimmy Boyle Days' blackboards (boths works created by Beuys in Edinburgh and purchased by Moenchengladbach.)
S o m e E v e n t s 1 9 8 0 ' s
Above: Italian artist Mimmo Rotella creating a collage artwork in The Demarco Gallery's Blackfriars Street Home (1990). He later sold this artwork at Sotheby's, raising £8,000 in aid of The Demarco Gallery.
Below: The ruined abbey on Inchcolm island in the Firth of Forth, where the Italian theatre company 'Zattera di Babele' performed 'Toward Macbeth: a prologue' - the audience had to travel by boat! (1988)
Top: An 'Edinburgh Arts' circum-navigation of Britain aboard the sailing
ship 'Marques' - a 68day voyage with
106 participants, including artists, poets, gallery directors, sailors, teachers, etc.
Pictured: poet Sorley MacLean and
Demarco Gallery administrator Jeane
MacAllistair, sailing through the Sound of Raasay.
French artist Gasiorowski was shown in our Blackfrairs Street Gallery with the help of a consortium of French and British galleries (1987).
Carlo Quartucci, Richard Demarco and Carla Tato on a voyage to Inchcolm, July 1968
M i s c e l l e a n o u s
Marina Abramovic (left) in her Belgrade studio with Marijan Susovski,
preparing for the 'Passepart' exhibition presented at The Richard Demarco Gallery 1975. This was the first showing of her work in the UK.
Above: 'Burma Road' - Richard Demarco and Paul Neagu on the stone path constructed by hand by the occupier of the cottage seen in the distance, to give access to the postman.
Above: Sheena McDonald speaking to the besieged Obala artists of
Sarajevo (then under bombardement) by a unique telephone link from the Demarco Gallery restaurant. George Wylie is standing in the background (1993).