Archie Brennan: Tapestry Goes Pop! at Dovecot Studios in Edinburgh is the first major retrospective work about the Edinburgh-born master weaver who began his 60-year career as an apprentice at Dovecot, becoming its Artistic Director. A tapestry trailblazer (not to mention a bodybuilder and former Mr Scotland), Brennan (1931-2019) is not only acknowledged as a pioneer of modern weaving, but is also considered one of the great unsung Pop artists of the 20th century – unsung, because he chose to work in tapestry.
The exhibition includes 80 tapestries and other works, a number of which are on public display for the first time. Brennan’s Pop-influenced works, for which he often used images cut from newspapers and magazines or sketched from TV, demonstrate his interest in celebrity culture and media representations of public figures such as Princess Diana and Muhammad Ali.
Established in 1912, Dovecot Studios has been at the vanguard of tapestry weaving for over a century. Now based in a repurposed Victorian baths building, the Studios are noted for collaborations with artists such as Chris Ofili, Victoria Crowe and Alison Watt.