March 15, 2013 Repository 58: Grayson Perry on the Vitalness of Content Posted In: art practice, bon mots, contemporary art

20130315-133551.jpgImage courtesy of the Art Newspaper

On the occasion of last year’s exhibit Grayson Perry: the Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman at the British Museum, the Art Newspaper interviewed him on his work, themes and process. In case you are unfamiliar with this Turner prize winner, he is one of the most eloquent, thoughtful artists the mass media (British anyways) gives the podium to. There are lots of interviews with him posted on YouTube, etc so take a peek.

For brevity’s sake I will leave you with his most salient comment in the Art Newspaper interview. A comment that I think often whether looking at works in galleries, MFA shows and in museum shows even, but haven’t the platform or chutzpah to say it as “clearly” as he has. Enjoy:

Art Newspaper: “Another unusual aspect of your work is that it incorporates a lot of content, narrative scenes and often writing.”

Grayson Perry:

“Oh, you’ve got to have content; I think it’s cowardly to avoid content. I judged a competition the other day and among the 700 works the number of wishy-washy semi-abstract paintings I saw was incredible. It was as though they wanted to make art, but didn’t want to say anything. I hate the aimless, apparently transcendent thing in sub-Rothkos: “Oh, this is all about spirituality.” Fuck off. Why isn’t it about your mother-in-law or poverty or war?”

Exactly. While I don’t think all work needs to be about the dire – I do believe even spirituality can exist in work – art needs to be done with integrity. While the content in much of his work is intense, Grayson Perry takes whimsy very seriously, and plays with great integrity. So regardless of the type of content – have it first – then do what you will.

20130315-133822.jpgImage of Grayson Perry in his Studio courtesy Channel 4

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  1. englishfiftysomething • March 23, 2013

    I recently read the book Grayson Perry: Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Girl, which my husband bought me for Christmas, which was incredible. I admire and respect Grayson totally. I adored his series on taste regarding his tapestries which was shown on TV recently and am refreshed by his understanding of life. Thank you Catherine for this post. Reply

    • mindmarrow • March 23, 2013

      Thanks so much for the note! I have not yet read this book. I have adored him for a long time, will definitely add the book to the reading list. I hope you've seen his many interviews as well, they are posted on youtube, etc. Thanks again! Reply

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