Remembering Rosc

The contemporary art festival ran every four years from 1967 until 1988.


Life, Love The Liberties

Two art installations on Crane Street in The Liberties serve as reminders of the Rosc Art Exhibitions, which were held in, what was then, the Guinness Hopstore in the 1980s.

Rosc was a series of pivotal, and often controversial, exhibitions that were the first major large scale international art exhibitions in Ireland, at a time when Ireland did not have a national Museum of Contemporary Art. Rosc took place approximately every four years between 1967 and 1988, until a  permanent home for contemporary art – Irish Museum of Modern Art IMMA – was founded at Royal Hospital Kilmainham in 1991.

The renowed architect Michael Scott started Rosc, and served as its chair until 1980. Rosc is considered “pivotal” and “seismic” in the history of Irish art and drew crowds, however, the exhibitions were also known for their controversies.

The premiere edition was held in 1967. The Department of Education permitted all Irish schools to take the time to visit the show, this innovative policy was continued through all of the Rosc exhibitions. In 1984 and 1988 the exhibitions were held in the Guinness Hopstore (now known as Digital Exchange and part of the Digital Hub).

Two site specific works remain from Rosc 1984 and can still be seen.  Amercian artist Richard Serra created a triangular steel spiral, ‘Sean’s Spiral’ which is embedded in the cobbles on Sugar House Lane. Lawrence Weiner created a text work ‘Stone upon Stone upon Fallen Stone’ 1983, Cloch ós cionn cloiche ós cionn cloch leagtha’ on an external wall of a former vathouse on Rainsford Street.

Read more about Rosc 1967 – 1988 via this commemorative brochure produced by IMMA and Nival in 2017.

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