I’ve been aware of Grayson Perry for a few years now but I’m not aware that I’ve ever seen his work in the flesh so to speak. I’ve seen him on various arts and magazine programmes, on the televisual goggle-box, usually as Claire (his alter ego). I understood him to work mainly in ceramics, he came across as being slightly less pretentious than many arty folk but apart from that I knew very about him. Last night’s hour-long programme on BBC1 ‘Imagine: Grayson Perry and the Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman’ was a joy. Alan Yentob can’t make a bad arts programme (great job you’ve got there Alan) and this one was no exception. It charts Grayson over a two year period leading up to his current exhibition at the British Museum ‘Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman’. The exhibition is a mix of Grayson Perry’s work and artefacts from the museum’s collection brought together in a near serendipitous way to represent an imagined body of work the ‘Unknown Craftsman’. We are introduced to Alan Measles; Grayson’s teddy bear of 50 years standing and Grayson Perry’s deity, as they journey together to Germany on a pastel pink and blue custom build motorbike. All is explained in the programme.
I like or can accept a sizeable chunk of contemporary art. And, despite their politics I think Gilbert and George are particularly outstanding artists. But, I don’t care for likes of Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin with their pretentiously-purveyed Emperor’s New Clothes style nonsense. It doesn’t shock or disgust it’s just downright boring and in my book it ain’t art! Grayson Perry is a cut above all that. I like his attitude to art. Despite the way he dresses, which certainly grabs the attention it seeks, he appears to put in the effort, genuinely striving to produce quality art rather than take the piss. He himself is also critical of much of the art world. He is also a tad eccentric which is no bad thing in an artist. Grayson is truly a great British artist, up there with Hockney, Gormley, Banksy and the aforementioned Gilbert and George, to name but a few. I hope to go and see his exhibition before it closes on 19th February 2012
If you missed this fabulous programme and want to see it, go to the iPlayer. But be quick as it won't be there for long.