The Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) presents the first major survey in the Southern hemisphere of works by Grayson Perry – one of Britain’s most acclaimed contemporary artists and winner of the 2003 Turner Prize in Grayson Perry: My Pretty Little Art Career from 10 December 2015.
With a keen eye for detail and a love of the popular and vernacular, Grayson Perry is known for his ceramics, sculptures, drawings, prints and tapestries. An astute chronicler of contemporary life, he infuses his artworks with a sly humour and reflection on society past and present.
Various themes are explored through Perry’s multi-faceted practice including the history of taste and social class in Britain, religious and folk iconography, and representations of gender and sexuality.
“Grayson Perry is one of best known British artists of his generation,” says Museum of Contemporary Art Director, Elizabeth Ann Macgregor OBE. “With his strong commitment to audiences and his media presence, Grayson’s appeal extends beyond the art world. It is exciting to be welcoming him and his work to Sydney for the first time in the region.”
The artist’s highly decorated ceramic pots in particular reveal a panoply of imagery ranging from the highly personal to the political, their subjects including his own childhood and family, the art world, Biblical stories, the Royal family, and images of warfare and sexual fantasy. Embellished with photographic transfers, graffito drawing and text, they draw viewers in with their unique combination of pathos and wit.
Perry’s transvestism and feminine alter ego Claire – described by the artist as ‘a central plank of [his] creative drive’ – emerges through his practice as a recurring visual motif. A contemporary of the YBA (Young British Artists) generation, he has forged a distinctive career that sits apart from the cooler theoretical approach of some of his peers, favouring a more flamboyant, accessible aesthetic that blurs the division of high art and popular culture.
Curated by MCA Chief Curator Rachel Kent, the exhibition will introduce the full spectrum of Grayson Perry’s practice from the early 1980s to the present. It encompasses a diverse and comprehensive selection of the artist’s ceramic works, sculptures in iron and bronze, prints and drawings, and his ambitious, large-scale tapestries including the fifteen-metre Walthamstow Tapestry (2009) and the six-part tapestry cycle The Vanity of Small Differences (2012). The exhibition is contextualised by a selection of photographs and costumes, as well as sketch books and video documentation.
Grayson Perry held his first solo exhibition in Britain in 1984 and has exhibited his works internationally since the early 1990s. He was awarded the prestigious Turner Prize in 2003, and in 2011 combined his own works with historical artefacts from the British Museum collection in Grayson Perry: The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman.
He has made numerous television appearances, hosting his own Channel 4 series In the Best Possible Taste – Grayson Perry in 2012, then Grayson Perry: Who Are You? in late 2014, along with his solo exhibition on the theme of portraiture and British identity at the National Portrait Gallery, London. In 2013 he delivered The Reith Lectures, BBC Radio 4’s annual flagship talk series by leading international thinkers, to widespread critical acclaim.
Grayson Perry: My Pretty Little Art Career
Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, George Street, The Rocks (Sydney)
Exhibition: 10 December 2015 – 1 May 2016
Entry fees apply
For more information, visit: www.mca.com.au for details.
Image: Grayson Perry, Expulsion from Number 8 Eden Close from the series The Vanity of Small Differences, 2012, wool, cotton, acrylic, polyester and silk tapestry, edition of 6 plus 2 Aps, image courtesy the Artist and Victoria Miro, London © Grayson Perry