"An abundant gift of truly original vision."
Duncan Macmillan, The Scotsman
The biggest ever exhibition of Sir Grayson Perry's work, covering his 40-year career. Perry has gone from taking pottery evening classes to winning the Turner Prize, presenting television programmes on Channel 4 and writing acclaimed books. Pottery allowed him the opportunity to indulge his fascination with sex, Punk, and counterculture, amongst other things, in the most unlikely and polite of artforms. Today he is one of Britain's most celebrated artists and cultural figures.
Popular and provocative, Perry makes art that deals with difficult and complex ideas in an accessible and often funny way. He loves taking on big issues that are universally human: masculinity, sexuality, class, religion, politics and more. On view in this exhibition were subversive pots, brilliantly intricate prints, elaborate sculptures, and huge, captivating tapestries - all imbued with Perry's sharp wit and social commentary. Working with traditional artforms, Perry addresses the controversial issues of our times.
"One of my favourite exhibitions I’ve ever been to."
Frank Skinner, Absolute Radio
Banner image: Grayson Perry, Kenilworth AM1, 2010, custom-built motorcycle © Grayson Perry. Courtesy the artist and Victoria Miro. Photo: Angus Mill.
"Rarely have I been to a show that had such a nice vibe."
Laura Freeman, The Times
This comprehensive exhibition, which encompassed more than eighty works, was developed in close collaboration with the artist and Victoria Miro gallery. Instead of being presented chronologically, the show offered a journey through the main themes of Perry’s provocative art, including masculinity, sexuality, class, religion, politics and identity. Grayson Perry | Smash Hits displayed subversive pots, intricate prints, elaborate sculptures, and huge, captivating tapestries – all imbued with Perry’s sharp wit and social commentary.
Grayson Perry | Smash Hits brought together all the artist’s meticulously detailed prints and imaginary maps. The exhibition featured many of his tapestries, such as the rarely shown Walthamstow Tapestry (2009) which, at 15-metres in length, presents birth-to-death journey through shopping and brand names. Visitors also encountered the intricate cast-iron ship, Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman (2011) which was the centrepiece of Perry’s 2011 exhibition of the same name at the British Museum. The tomb is a memorial to all the anonymous craftsmen of history. Two rooms centred on the monumental tapestry series: Vanity of Small Differences (2012), which focus on class and are loosely based on William Hogarth’s A Rake’s Progress, as well as House for Essex tapestries (2015), which explore the life of a fictional Essex woman Julie Cope.
"The Hogarth of Modern Britain"
Waldemar Januszczak, The Sunday Times
The final room exhibited new works made in the past few months especially for the exhibition. These included a richly detailed tapestry, a large woodcut print, and pots and plates which explore themes of national identity. Perry’s latest pots, in the form of medieval beer flagons, are decorated with traditional slipware techniques and reference subjects ranging from the polarising effect of internet debate to heraldic iconography. This room also included objects chosen from his recent Channel 4 docuseries Grayson Perry’s Full English. Perry travelled around the country to try and uncover what Englishness means today. He invited interviewees to select personal items which to them represented Englishness. Piqued by the opportunity to show some of these items, alongside his new works on Englishness in Scotland, Perry has included various objects from a pub sign to a football flag, and a teacup to a letter from the Queen.
This exhibition was sponsored by Jigsaw Foundation and Friends of the National Galleries of Scotland, and is organised with the support of Victoria Miro and Paragon Press.
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