Jenny Uglow reviews Grayson Perry: The Most Popular Art Exhibition Ever! for The New York Review of Books

By Jenny Uglow

 

The Outside-In Art of Grayson Perry

 

Facing you as you walk into Grayson Perry’s show at Serpentine Galleries, in the middle of London’s Hyde Park, is a huge woodcut, Reclining Artist, showing the artist as his alter ego Claire, reclining nude on a sofa like Manet’s Olympia. Here is the artist-model surrounded by his obsessions: bike parts, images of Alan Measles, his teddy-bear Muse (or, as Perry calls him, his “metaphor for masculinity and God”), and piles of books, including one on Zaha Hadid, who designed the tent-like curving extension to the Serpentine Sackler Gallery, across the river. “I am here, in the center of things,” it seems to say. Is this blatant egocentricity, as sniping critics have claimed, or wry self-awareness? As the title of the Serpentine show suggests—“Grayson Perry: The Most Popular Art Exhibition Ever!”—Perry is always ready to mock his own status. When he dreamed up the title, he writes in the catalogue, “It made me laugh, and slightly nervous laughter is the reaction most art world people have to it.” 

 

Perry’s work is full of bounding energy, an ebullient combination of wit, silliness, seriousness, anger, insight, and compassion. Since he won the Turner Prize in 2003 for his startling decorated pots, he’s come to terms with his insider-outsider status, happily turning out on grand occasions as Claire, with blonde hair, outrageous clothes, bright pink lipstick, and dangly earrings. And if some of the high and mighty are still tight-lipped and disconcerted, the British public have taken him to their hearts, not least because of his openness, his barking laugh, and his ability to listen to people of all classes. He’s proved unfailingly astute in his dissection of contemporary British culture and taste, offering a Hogarthian survey of the nation’s tribes in the tapestries The Vanity of Small Differences and accompanying television series in 2012, delivering the prestigious BBC Reith Lectures in 2013, and making several strange, sympathetic documentaries.

 

Read more

The New York Review of Books Posted 6 September 2017

Victoria Miro

16 Wharf Road
London N1 7RW
t: 44 (0)20 7336 8109

info@victoria-miro.com

View map

Victoria Miro Mayfair

14 St George Street

London W1S 1FE

t: 44 (0)20 3205 8910

info@victoria-miro.com
View map

Victoria Miro Venice

Il Capricorno, San Marco 1994,

Calle Drio La Chiesa

30124 Venice, Italy

t: +39 041 523 3799 

info@victoria-miro.com
View map

Opening Times

London: Tuesday - Saturday: 10.00am - 6.00pm 

Monday: By appointment

 

Venice: Tuesday - Saturday: 10am - 1pm & 2 - 6pm

 

We are also closed on Sundays, bank holiday weekends and public holidays.


Admission free. No tickets required. Large groups should please contact the gallery in advance to book a visit.

 

Enquiries

All general enquiries should be sent to  
info@victoria-miro.com

Victoria Miro does not accept unsolicited artist applications.

Subscribe

Staff contact details

Directors

Victoria Miro
Glenn Scott Wright
W.P. Miro

Sales

Director of Sales and Performance
Direct line: +44 (0)20 7336 8109
Director, Mayfair
Direct line: +44 (0)20 7549 0494
Fabian Lang
Director, Venice
Direct line: +39 041 523 3799
Elke Seebauer
Managing Director, Venice
Direct line: +39 041 523 3799
Anna Fisher
Associate Director of Sales
Direct line: +44 (0)20 7324 0905
Oliver Miro
Associate Director of Sales
Direct line: +44 (0)20 7549 0496
Mary Eleanor McNicholas
Sales Assistant
Direct line: +44 (0)20 7549 0498

Exhibitions

Erin Manns
Director of Exhibitions - Head of Department
Direct line: +44 (0)20 7549 0423
Rachel Taylor
Director of Exhibitions
Direct line: +44 (0)20 7549 0431
Mary Taylor
Production Manager
Direct line: +44 (0)20 7549 0424
Catherine Turner
Exhibitions Assistant
Direct line: +44 (0)20 7336 8109
Isabelle Young
Exhibitions Assistant
Direct line: +44 (0)20 7336 8109

Communications

Kathy Stephenson
Director of Communications
Direct line: +44 (0)20 7549 0422
Martin Coomer
Head of Editorial and Digital Content
Direct line: +44 (0)20 7324 0915
Marisa J. Futernick
Digital and Social Media Manager
Direct line: +44 (0)20 7549 0491
Hannah van den Wijngaard
Photography, Rights and Reproduction Manager
Direct line: +44 (0)20 7549 0428
Press and Marketing Assistant
Direct line: +44 (0)20 7324 0912

Operations

Robert Holzberger
Director of Operations and Events
Direct line: +44 (0)20 7549 0495
Adeline Guy
Head Registrar
Direct line: + 44 (0)20 7324 0916
Jayne Archard
Registrar
Direct line: +44 (0)207 324 0910
Alice Panton
Registrar
Direct line: +44 (0)20 7324 0904
Clare Rowe
Paper Archive and Records Manager
Direct line: +44 (0)20 7549 0493
Vix Moore
Front of House and Events Manager
Direct line: +44 (0)20 7336 8109
Elina Pelvanidi
Front of House Coordinator (Wharf Road)
Direct line: +44 (0)20 7336 8109
Louis Blanc-Francard
Gallery Coordinator (Mayfair)
Direct line: +44 (0)20 3205 8910
Philip Ewe
Library & Archive Assistant
Direct line: +44 (0)20 7336 8109

Technical Services

David Wood
Technical Operations and Buildings Manager
Direct line: +44 (0)20 7549 0424
Jack Fenton
Buildings Coordinator
Direct line: +44 (0)20 7324 0914
Jon Glazier
Head Technician
Direct line: +44 (0)20 7549 0425
Gemma Geraghty
Senior Technician
Rob Phillips
Senior Technician
Direct line: +44 (0)20 7549 0492
Ross Taylor
Technician
Direct line: +44 (0)20 7549 0492

Finance

Direct line: +44 (0)20 7336 8109