Grayson Perry: The Most Popular Art Exhibition Ever! tackles one of the artist’s primary concerns: how contemporary art can best address a diverse cross section of society. On show for the first time outside of London, the exhibition is central to the autumn season at Arnolfini and a programme of events inspired by Perry’s irreverent take on contemporary culture.
In the exhibition, Perry continues to explore many of the themes and concerns that recur in his practice, drawing from his own childhood and life as a transvestite, as well as wider social issues and his abiding interest in his audience. The works in the exhibition examine masculinity, class, politics, sex, religion, popularity and art, as well as contemporary issues such as Brexit and ‘Divided Britain’.
Perry said: “I am in the communication business and I want to communicate to as wide an audience as possible. Nothing pleases me more than meeting someone at one of my exhibitions from what museum people call ‘a non-traditional background.’ The new works I am making all have ideas about popularity hovering around them. What kind of art do people like? What subjects? Why do people like going to art galleries these days? What is the relationship of traditional art to social media?”
Working in a variety of traditional media including ceramics, cast iron, bronze, printmaking, and tapestry, Perry is best known for his ability to combine delicately crafted objects with scenes of contemporary life.
The exhibition at Arnolfini will present over 25 of Perry’s latest works, including Matching Pair (above). This new work was created after Perry invited the British public, through social media, to contribute ideas, images and phrases that were then used to cover two enormous pots: one for Remainers and one for the Brexiteers.
The crowd-sourced work accompanied a Channel 4 documentary, Grayson Perry: Divided Britain,which followed Perry as he visited pro-Brexit and pro-Remain parts of the country.