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Front Cover – At the Edge of the City (detail) (1987) Ken Currie 

 

 

 

Ken Currie’s great picture takes up almost a whole wall in Manchester’s City Art Gallery – it’s big : 12 feet wide and 7 feet high. Ken (born 1960) was one of the New Glasgow Boys, a group which included Peter Howson, Adrian Wisniewski and the late Steven Campbell. The curator’s note on the Manchester acquisition reads:

 

This painting is an image of social breakdown. Glaswegian painter, Ken Currie was inspired by the sight of a burnt-out car in the Gorbals district of Glasgow. The figure on the right may have been laid off by the factory in the background. He keeps a wary eye on the threatening environment where right-wing politicos and their thugs paste up Union Jacks and bellow propaganda through a megaphone. On the left a brutish businessman ignores the appeals of a sick and broken old man. Or perhaps he is indulging in a sexual favour. Currie's painting is inspired by the political satire of artists like William Hogarth and George Grosz.