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A Lawnmower in the Loft: Bruce McLean Interviews Himself Again (Ten Difficult Questions)

​Bruce McLean Pose work for plinths

​Bruce McLean
Photographed by Alexandria Savege

Meet legendary Scottish performance sculptor, Bruce McLean at the launch of his long-awaited autobiography

A rollicking tale from start to finish and dripping with satire, Bruce McLean’s autobiography, A Lawnmower in the Loft, reads like a personification of the artist himself.

Made up of a series of vivid and bawdy anecdotes, McLean’s first collection of biographical stories echo the satirical tone of his art-making practice and relate the invention of his life as an artist. Both funny (ha ha) and funny (peculiar), this (non) po-faced history of art and comedy of (ill) manners presents a compelling soundtrack of human behaviour, gesture politik and inherited tics and traits.

This book, published on 2nd November 2017, is a culmination of snapshots of the artist’s life: from growing up in Glasgow in the 1950s to enrolling at St Martins, from wine-fuelled trips to Mallorca to dinners with stalwarts of the contemporary art scene, A Lawnmower in the Loft provides a glimpse into the hilarious, high-spirited and often ridiculous escapades of McLean.


Bruce McLean is an acclaimed Scottish action sculptor, painter and ceramicist. He has gained considerable international recognition for his work in many different media, which has also included innovative work with film and theatre. In 1972 at the age of 27, he was the youngest artist ever to be offered a retrospective at The Tate, to which he responded with King for a Day, a one-day exhibition which consisted of a catalogue listing 1000 proposals for sculpture.

McLean has gone on to have numerous one-man exhibitions at major museums internationally, including The ICA, Whitechapel, GOMA Brisbane and MOMA Oxford. Last year, Mclean was one of the central figures of Conceptual Art in Britain 1964–1979, which featured his seminal work Pose Work for Plinths 3 1971. This autumn, Mclean collaborated on a new ceramic commission, Garden Ware, for the V&A, launched during design week in the museum’s ceramic galleries. McLean has shown with Bernard Jacobson gallery since 1984.

Tate Modern

Terrace Shop

London SE1 9TG
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Date & Time

7 November 2017 at 19.00–20.00