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Modern Two Edinburgh
Photograph: Shutterstock / PhotoFires

This iconic art gallery in Edinburgh has been forced to shut

Modern Two, part of the National Galleries of Scotland, says that visitor numbers are still below pre-pandemic levels

Chiara Wilkinson
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Chiara Wilkinson
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A major art gallery in Edinburgh has been forced to shut amid warnings of a growing cash crisis.

Modern Two in Edinburgh, one of the National Galleries of Scotland’s flagship galleries, opened in 1999 and features permanent work by sculptor Eduardo Paolozzi. But it’s now facing a storm of inflation, funding issues, rising energy bills, and lower visitor numbers, and will remain closed for the foreseeable future (unless by appointment).

Last month, director-general Sir John Leighton told MSPs the institution was ‘struggling to keep the lights on’. He said his priority for next year and beyond was ‘how we protect the collection, keep the lights on and doors open – and that is it’. More than 40 gallery staff had already left in a ‘voluntary exit’ scheme to try to cut costs.

A spokesperson said that the National Galleries of Scotland is still in a period of recovery from the pandemic, with visitor numbers and self-generated income well below 2019 levels. The news comes just weeks after the announcement that the Edinburgh International Film Festival and Edinburgh Filmhouse cinemas would be closing for good. 

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