Major new commissions from local and international artists form the bedrock of the sixth Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art (GI), while off-site projects and more than 50 additional solo and group exhibitions across the city mean that for 18 days next April the city will be awash with contemporary art activity.

The just announced programme, the first under new Director Sarah McCrory, includes major new commissions from Bedwyr Williams (Tramway), Aleksandra Domanovic (GOMA), Sue Tompkins (GOMA) and Simon Martin (Kelvingrove Museum). Other commissions include Glasgow-based German artist Michael Stumpf at Glasgow School of Art, Canadian artist Gareth Moore at Glasgow Sculpture Studio, Puerto Rican Beatriz Santiago Munoz at Transmission, Palestinian Khaled Hourani at CCA, and Anne Collier at The Modern Institute.

GI states that more than 90% of the work in the festival will be either new or previously unseen in the UK, and artists will be working in a variety of media and disciplines, including installation, film, collage, ceramics, painting, photography and performance. The festival’s loose theme is ‘to highlight artists whose practices engage in essential and critical contemporary art discourse’.

While Williams, currently representing Wales at the Venice Biennale, will take on Tramway’s vast main space for his festival show, American artist Michael Smith is to present a film installation across two of its spaces, which will feature new and previous work from the last 30 years. At Mary Mary, Alistair Frost will present new paintings alongside a functioning nail bar; visitors to the gallery will have the opportunity to have their nails painted with designs by the artist.

Other highlights

Other highlights include a show by Glasgow artist Charlotte Prodger; mixed-media gallery and café Broth Mix at Open Jar; performance work by Claudia Comte at David Dale Gallery; and shows in non-gallery spaces by Jordan Wolfson, emerging American artist Avery Singer, and Brazilian artist Hudinilson Jnr, who died in August. A group show at WASPS city centre studio at the Briggait, The Second Life of Sculpture, will draw inspiration from the Empire Exhibitions of the 18th and 19th centuries.

As part of the festival’s support for art activity in the city, this year’s Open Glasgow initiative includes projects by artists Laura Aldridge and Anna Mayer, a performative exhibition, Gymnasia, initiated by artist Craig Mulholland, a lecture performance by Fiona Jardine, and the launch of the third edition of The Burning Sand, a new art magazine from Glasgow.

GI Director Sarah McCrory said: “This year’s Glasgow International will continue to show the strength of the renowned and exceptional production from within Glasgow, as well as invite artists into the city to embed into its museums and alternative spaces, encouraging discourse around multifarious topics ranging from new technologies to museum taxonomies, to the use of humour. Once again, the festival will provide a focus on the wealth of its arts organisations and communities, whilst embracing input… from international practioners.”

Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art, 4-21 April 2014.