I can’t imagine a better host/guide than Grayson Perry for a four-part British documentary on taste and class issues. Perry has been known to grab taboos by the horns and use them fluently in his art work, subverting and re-contextualizing in order to tell stories in his work. While this television project is not his work per se, it is interviews with real people and his commentary, he has made a series of work concurrently that explores issues of class and taste.
The art work was shown at the Victoria Miro gallery in August, while the program should be available for viewing online for a while.
While the documentary is set in the UK, the findings can be extrapolated to the US for sure. Exploring ideas such as the lower classes’ needs for reassurance and finding it through brands and trends, and the idea of education and knowingness bringing a sense of “does it really matter?” are definitely taboo and uncouth discussions, AND strike some truth and urgency it seems.
In a time where the market economy seems to be moving full force into a market culture with its ideas of celebrity and possessions this seems a discussion well worth having. Not to mention the fact that the art world itself is actually a microcosm of this good/bad taste discussion – good taste as illusion and simply obeying the rules of the tiny tribe that is the art world.
Image courtesy Channel 4