Grayson Perry’s Summer Exhibition

Grayson Perry’s Summer Exhibition


It’s a big rough and tumble the Summer show, you know? Everybody who subjects their work to it you’re in the mix. And it’s all about a celebration of making stuff. There is not a show like this in the world, where someone like Anselm Kiefer, or Marina Abramovic, or David Hockney can show in the same space as Joe Bloggs! Everybody gets equal billing it’s a democracy, of a sort a very arbitrary one – I’m in charge! We are in Gallery Three, which I hung and, it’s bright yellow! Because it’s the Summer Show clue’s in the title! There was a strong current events, political sort of vibe going on so I kind of amped it up. I started with the portrait in the middle because I thought it’s such a lovely piece. And then that became the still centre of this sort of maelstrom of agit-prop and… slightly dubious, some of the works we’ve got our Banksy here and I’ve put him next to this painting that was rejected, but then I brought it in because I thought, next to the Banksy it’s kind of interesting. You know… what’s that about? There’s all little connections, you’ve got Jeremy Corbyn… politics is very much part of contemporary art at the moment, so in some ways in the hang in here I tried to put it in in a sort of not too shouty kind of a way. All I want people to come in here is to go, “wow look there’s a yellow room with a big Pink Panther in and, there’s Nigel Farage” [laughs] When we were doing the send-ins and looking at the images of all the thousands of works, if you’d have asked me after we’d finished the work that really stood out in my mind, it was this carpet bear. We just all looked at it and went “ehhehhehhh!” Like that, and we thought we’re definitely having that one. This, for me, is the Summer Show. These sort of works, that… some people would call them kitsch but I just call them high impact because you’ve got to fight your corner in this show. There’s a lot going on. This is by Rob and Nick Carter and it looks like a painting but actually it’s a video. And over the course of an hour or so it goes through the times of the day and I think it’s a really delightful thing. I only saw these for the first time this morning, these Tony Cragg sculptures. I can’t work out how they’re made. They’re like a bit of the desert brought inside. You can feel the wind blowing through these things. They’re just amazing. They’re next to one of my favourite artists an African artist called El Anatsui and I love these things. These are all made of little bits of beer cans and bottle tops. There’s something so joyous about them. I wouldn’t mind one of those. This is an interesting piece. It’s very simple, it’s like that fencing you see around road works. And yet it’s a sort of beautifully crafted mirrored surface, and these perfectly laser-cut little pieces out of it. There’s something at once amazingly precious, and… casual. And I think that’s a really lovely thing for an artist to be able to do. One of my favourite artists, Boetti is very good at that. He’d make these monolithic things on a whim. And I think that’s got that spirit, in a way. It’s a really nice thing. This is the Lecture Room it’s been hung by Tom Phillips and Allen Jones and it’s dominated by this huge photo piece by David Hockney. It sort of plays with your mind a bit because it’s al been photoshopped in a strange way the perspective is all slightly out on everything and it gives you this slightly unsettling feeling that you’re gonna tip into the photograph. There’s another one of the same series on the back. We need a big showstopper when you’re putting on the Summer Show and nobody does a showstopper better than Joana Vasconcelos. A Portuguese artist, amazing sensory overload like a huge spaceship that’s landed in a haberdashery shop. I mean it’s just… I love it. One of the particular aspects about this year’s Summer Show is that, because we have several other exhibitions now in the new, expanded, super-big RA, we decided that we’d put the prints up here in The Sackler Galleries Because people love the prints people love to buy the prints because they’re cheaper and more easily shown in a domestic setting. So Chris Orr and Emma Stibbon have curated the Sackler Galleries with the prints and drawings. Hello! Here’s Chris. I’m just doing a quick video tour, Chris. What are your highlights of this room? [CHRIS ORR] Yours! There you go I wasn’t going to say it myself, obviously, but… this gallery is dominated by the three by two metre woodblock print by this artist Grayson Perry. And it’s called “Selfie with Political Causes” because politics is very trendy at the moment in the art world and I wanted to make a nice decorative image with lots of reference to all the things that people get angry about these days on social media. Nice sculpture by Yinka Shonibare. And this lovely triptych by Paula Rego which looks great on its own here on the end wall. Oh, this is funny. I don’t know who made this, but this is good. Often I’m a bit… any piece of what they call kinetic art, is normally powered by electricity and therefore it will break down. But this is quite sweet actually. It’s a little mechanical automaton thing. And it does work perfectly which is amazing. It picks up… a little grain… of rice one or two at a time and then… drops it down. And there’s something about the meaninglessness of it that I like very much. The futility. But it’s really nicely put together. [laughs] The futility! Now we are going right across to the other side of the campus here at the Royal Academy to the new Burlington Gardens building which has been linked up with David Chipperfield’s bridge and we’re gonna go to the McAulay Gallery which is the space that I have designated Room of Fun. And there’s nothing worse than calling something fun to make it not funny. So that’s where we’re going. The first artist that I asked, of course… when you’re thinking of putting together a humorous exhibition would be David Shrigley, who is one of the few artists who is genuinely funny. And so this wall of “News!” by David Shrigley always titters me. One of things I did, I noticed that as we were going through the send-in the thousands of works we were looking at there were quite a few portraits, of me. And so I thought it would be funny if we had a big group of them so I think there’s about 12 over there on the wall and then there’s a series of little sculptural ones as well. Oh and this is a funny thing this is Michael Landy’s shopping trolley which has got a sound component it’s got a sort of market stall trader in it going “come on now now! Two for one deal!” “Everything must go!” “Come on now, roll up! Get your art here!” So I think that’s the kind of spirit of the Summer Show, because one of the special things about the Summer Show of course is that everything’s for sale and it’s to raise money for the art school within the Royal Academy that not a lot of people know about but now, when they go through the tunnel they can see it. So it’s great. I hope you enjoy my Summer Exhibition. If you want to know more about the history of this great show, there’s another show on here at the Royal Academy called “The Great Spectacle” about its long history. Here at the Royal Academy until August the 19th.

12 thoughts on “Grayson Perry’s Summer Exhibition

  1. I saw grayson perry's works at the MCA in Sydney… brilliant!!! confronting at times, but such colourful work! kudos

  2. I love this man. Both as an artist and a social commentator. He asks questions when required and is quiet when people reply

  3. I really admire Perry but it does sound like the works were chosen to fit a them rather than on their individual merit. But then again most judges have a them in their heads albeit not so pronounced as Grayson , no one is as pronounced as he is !!!

  4. precious and casual….unsettling. what a pleasure to follow on from the political selfie to a grain of rice. Good flowing commentary .Enjoyable thank you G. P.

  5. I love the yellow backdrop, it's the colour I'm painting my living room.
    My friend and I also loved the carpet bear too ? 2:25, 3:35 love the portrait art in the background. 5:16

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