Grayson Perry: The Most Popular Art Exhibition Ever

During 8 June – 10 September, the Serpentine has invited British artist Grayson Perry, one of the most astute commentators on contemporary society and culture, to present a major exhibition of new work. The works in the show touch on many themes including popularity and art, masculinity and the current cultural landscape.

Perry’s abiding interest in his audience informs his choice of universally human subjects. Working in a variety of traditional media such as ceramics, cast iron, bronze, printmaking and tapestry, Perry is best known for his ability to combine delicately crafted objects with scenes of contemporary life. His subject matter is drawn from his own childhood and life as a transvestite, as well as wider social issues ranging from class and politics to sex and religion.

Grayson Perry Matching Pair, 2017 Glazed ceramic Diptych Each: 105 x 51 cm Courtesy the artist and Victoria Miro, London © Grayson Perry

Taking place during the Serpentine’s popular summer season, when the parks enjoy hugely increased local and international audiences, The Most Popular Art Exhibition Ever!, tackles one of Perry’s central concerns: how contemporary art can best address a diverse cross-section of society.

Perry said: “I am in the communication business and I want to communicate to as wide an audience as possible. Nothing pleases me more than meeting someone at one of my exhibitions from what museum people call ‘a non-traditional background.’ The new works I am making all have ideas about popularity hovering around them. What kind of art do people like? What subjects? Why do people like going to art galleries these days? What is the relationship of traditional art to social media?”

The Serpentine, with its global reputation as an open landscape for art and ideas, free entry and accessible location in a central London park, is an ideal venue for Perry to pose these questions.

Grayson Perry, Installation view, Serpentine Gallery, London (08 June 2017 – 10 September 2017). Image © 2017 Robert Glowacki

A Channel 4 documentary Grayson Perry: Divided Britain followed Perry as he created a new work for the show: his attempt to capture the thoughts of a divided country a year after the EU referendum. Harnessing social media, Perry invited the British public to contribute ideas, images and phrases to cover the surface of two enormous new pots: one for the Brexiteers and one for the Remainers. He also visited the most pro-Brexit and pro-Remain parts of the country for the programme, which is available to watch on All4. See the pots, entitled Matching Pair, in The Most Popular Art Exhibition Ever! at the Serpentine.

正值蛇形畫廊(Serpentine Gallery)迎來海內外遊客最多之季,格雷森·佩里(Grayson Perry)“史上最受歡迎的展覽”(The Most Popular Art Exhibition Ever!)于6月8日在這裡開幕。展覽的主題涵蓋流行文化、當代藝術、男子氣概和當下多個文化景觀,聚焦“如何讓當代藝術以最好的方式展現社會的各個層面”這一佩里始終關注的主題。佩里巧妙地將當代生活與自己的藝術作品緊密結合,他的作品也因其高度的人文關懷而備受關注。他一直致力於與更廣泛的觀眾交流互動,試圖在當代藝術與觀眾之間建立一座溝通的橋樑。這一展覽將持續到9月10日。

Born in Chelmsford, Essex in 1960, Grayson Perry lives and works in London. He is well known for major exhibitions such as the Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman at the British Museum (2011-2012), and A House for Essex, a collaboration with FAT Architecture situated in the North Essex countryside. He has also presented two BAFTA award-winning Channel 4 programmes: In the Best Possible Taste, which chronicled the making of his monumental suite of tapestries The Vanity of Small Differences and Grayson Perry: Who Are You?, which accompanied a solo presentation of works on the theme of portraiture and British identity at the National Portrait Gallery, London (2014-2015).

Perry is also a successful writer and lecturer – his latest book, The Descent of Man, published by Penguin, was accompanied by a national lecture tour, Typical Man in a Dress. Penguin will also publish a new catalogue for the Serpentine show, The Most Popular Art Exhibition Ever!, available in bookshops from 22 June.


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