Robert Owen and I have history. Or, to be more precise, I learned all about Robert Owen and his vision of a socialist utopia when I was at primary school. Unlike a lot of the information stuffed into my young head, Owen’s story stayed with me. My primary school class even visited New Lanark, the purpose-built

cotton-spinning mill village situated beside the powerful Falls of Clyde, which gained Owen an international reputation for social and educational reforms in the early years of the 19th century.

Visiting New Lanark for the first time in several decades last weekend, it all came rushing back to me. I remember being told that New Lanark had the first infant school in the world and a creche for working mothers. Not to mention free medical care and a comprehensive education system for children, including evening classes for adults. What’s more, children under ten were not allowed to work in the mill. Even in the 1970s, that struck me as very cool.

Now a Unesco World Heritage site, New Lanark is a popular tourist attraction. Every year, all year round, thousands of visitors wind their way around Lanarkshire’s roads to reach its many and varied attractions, which now includes a brand new exhibition space.

The first exhibition in this space opened recently and fittingly, given New Lanark’s ongoing connections to the industry, it is devoted to textiles.

Artist Textiles – Picasso to Warhol is a touring show from London’s Fashion and Textile Museum which tells the story of textiles as a popular art form in 20th century Britain and America.

Highlights including prints of work by Salvador Dalí, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, Raoul Dufy, Sonia Delaunay, Henry Moore, Fernand Léger, Barbara Hepworth, Ben Nicholson, Joan Miró and Alexander Calder.

There are examples a-plenty of the best dresses I’ve seen this side of hit drama series Mad Men, which was set in the world of cool cats working in the mid-20th century Manhattan advertising scene. Or even The Crown. Princess Margaret figures in a photograph beside a section devoted to the English brand Horrockses Fashions, which in the 1940s and 1950s came to epitomise

the traditional English cotton summer frock. It sought the services of leading painters of the day Alastair Morton and Graham Sutherland to supply textile designs.

This large exhibition of works on fabric begins in the first decade of the 20th century with designs by Vorticist painter Wyndham Lewis and the artists of Bloomsbury’s Omega Workshops: Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant and Roger Fry. These artists were dead set on changing what they viewed as “the erroneous distinction between fine and applied art”.

Fauvist painter Dufy was the first 20th-century artist to become seriously and successfully involved in producing textile designs. His work influenced and encouraged many other artists and textile companies in Britain, on the Continent and in America.

After the war the movement to create “a masterpiece in every home” grew arms and legs with the involvement of leading contemporary artists such as John Piper, Dalí, Nicholson and Steinberg. Eventually, these art textiles were turned into commercial clothing: a Miró dress or a Dalí tie. By the 1960s, Picasso had deigned to allow his pictures to be printed on almost any fabric, save upholstery. The sofa was a line he wouldn’t cross, as the panels note: “Picassos may be leaned against, not sat on”.

Artist Textiles presents a fascinating daunder through the highways and byways of 20th-century art and fashion. Leading art movements are all represented – from Fauvism to Cubism, Constructivism, Abstraction, Surrealism and Pop Art.

There are four pieces of clothing made from printed silk textiles designed by Warhol in the exhibition, all relatively new discoveries. Dresses printed with large ice cream cones and a candy apple blouse are part of a group of Warhol food-related designs printed by Stehli Silks.

The undoubted stars of the show are the dresses, which include fabulous 1940s designs by Marcel Vertes and Claire McCardell for Wesley Simpson Custom Fabrics of New York and a surreal “Farmers Dinner” design by Miró on roller-printed cotton made

for DB Fuller & Co of New York in


I was also take by a 1955 dress designed by US fashion doyenne McCardell on printed cotton designed by Picasso called simply Fish. The coolest culottes in the world are also on display. These black and white

screen-printed cotton culottes feature a design by Picasso called Figures and were made in 1963 by Oregon’s White Stag Clothing Co. You can’t fail to be tickled by a yellow, red and brown Picasso design on plastic-coated cotton, used for an après-ski jacket, produced by White Stag in 1963. There’s a bullfighter theme going on in the red squares. Why not?

This is a hugely enjoyable exhibition. Maybe some fine-tuning of the space is required because, from the off, my senses were confused by the music playing in the gallery. At first I thought Eddi Reader singing Perfect was part

of the experience but then I realised when Men at Work’s Land Down

Under came on that we were actually listening to proper background music.

I was also a bit confused by the initial display of Russian Suprematist and Constructivist textiles at the start of the exhibition, dating to the early 1920s. That being said, it sent me off to investigate said Russian Suprematist and Constructivist.

Robert Owen, that great educator and reformer, would be impressed…

Artist Textiles – Picasso to Warhol, New Lanark World Heritage Site, South Lanarkshire, ML11 9DB, 01555 661345, Until April 29, open every day, 10am to 5pm, adults £9, children (10-15) £4, concessions (seniors and students) £7, children under 10 free

Don't Miss:

As well as going hand-in-hand with music and fashion, art and airdressing are also regular bedfellows.

On Thursday, Dunfermline artist/hairdresser Alan Grieve began his takeover of The W OR M space at Peacock Visual Arts in Aberdeen. Over the  last two days, Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design-trained Grieve has been offering visitors a haircut for £8. The bad news is his barber shop has moved onbut the good news is you will be able to seehis drawings from the last ten years and new work focusing on offbeat connections between Aberdeen and Dunfermline.

Alan Grieve // Workspace Dunfermline Takeover, The W OR M, Peacock Visual Arts, 11 Castle Street, Aberdeen, AB11 5BQ,

01224 639539,

Until March 2, open Tuesday to Saturday, 9.30am to 5.30pm, free

Critic's Choice: The relationship between art and music is as close as the ties that bind art and fashion. In a three-decade-long career as an artist, music has played a central role in Ross Sinclair’s life and work. Now he is curating an exhibition celebrating the intertwined relationships of his twin passions. For Artists who make Music. Musicians who make Art, he has invited a hundred like-minded artists to join the party. It includes works by  Turner prize-winning artists Douglas Gordon, Simon Starling, Susan Philipsz, Martin Boyce and Martin Creed.

Other luminaries include DavidShrigley, Scott Myles, Hanna Tuulikki, Bob and Roberta Smith, Ross Birrell, Nathan Coley, Ruth Barker and Graham Fagen alongside a host of others including students from the Glasgow School of Art. Sinclair, a reader in contemporary art practice in the School of Fine Art at the art school, has collaborated in a series of performances with the students.

The relationship between art and music has been prevalent in he work since he took time out from the art school to become a founding member of The Soup Dragons in the mid-1980s. Artists have been invited by Sinclair to submit an artwork irrespective of the form for which they are best known and to contribute an example of their music for a digital mix-tape that will be played in the space. Films and videos will be exhibited.

There are contributions from Edwyn Collinsand David McClymont of Orange Juice (who contributes the litho plates from the printing of the first Postcard single, Fallingand Laughing), while Bill Drummond (KLF) has written a short play based on his Ten Commandments of Art to beperformed by actor Tam Dean Burn. Brendan O’Hare (Teenage Fanclub) and Dougie Payne (Travis) will contribute sculptures, Eugene Kelly (Vaselines), Jill Bryson (Strawberry Switchblade) and Pete Astor (The Loft/Weather Prophets) are also involved. Artists who make music. Musicians whomake art: A curatorial residency with Dr Ross Sinclair of Glasgow School of Art February, Queens Park Railway Club, 492 Victoria Road, Glasgow G42 8PQ, From today until Sunday March 25. Open Fri – Sun (but not tomorrow) 12 pm to 6pm. Free