Top Gun Kilmer sets sights on saving Scottish art gallery

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TOP Gun star Val Kilmer has set his sights on saving a Scottish art gallery.

The Hollywood A-lister, a keen art collector, put his name to a petition to save the Inverleith House gallery at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.

The gallery has displayed contemporary art for the past three decades is being shut to save cash.

Kilmer, who also starred in Batman Forever, is amongst 230 celebrities to have put their names to an open letter opposing the closure.

Kilmer, who played macho pilot Tom “Iceman” Kazanski in Top Gun, has an extensive interest in collecting modern art and sculpture, and sells an array of work on his website, including Batman prints and abstract paintings.

He also recently featured in a video exhibit at the world-renowned Hammer Museum in Los Angeles.

In the letter, sent to Sir Muir Russell, chair of the gardens and its board, Kilmer and other signatories, including Ewan McGregor and Ian Rankin, call Inverleith House “a national treasure and an international beacon of our culture.”

The letter follows an online petition campaigning against the gallery’s closure, which has currently been signed by close to 9,000 people.

The letter states: “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.”

Other signatories of the letter include Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh, Turner prize winning artist Douglas Gordon, and Fran Healy, of Scottish indie band Travis.

Scotland’s arts funding body, Creative Scotland gave £80,000 of public money to the closure-hit gallery last year to help make it “sustainable” until 2021.

Arists to have had their work exhibited in the gallery include French sculptor Louise Bourgeois, American painter Robert Ryman and German mixed media artist Isa Genzken.

A statement from the RBGE, said: “The intention is very much that we intend to retain our reputation as an art venue across the board, be it for botanical art, performance, photography, sculpture, and contemporary art. We welcome the opportunity to discuss with Creative Scotland the options to achieve this.”

Image: George Biard

 
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