Grayson Perry at the British Museum

09Dec11

The British Museum is always the best place for marvelling at artefacts that have been crafted thousands of years ago and have lasted through so much of history. Impossible not to feel a sense of wonder.

The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsmen is a tribute to all the unknown craftspeople who came before artists like Grayson Perry. It’s a mix of his work and objects he’s added from the museum’s collection – so you’ll see African tribal headgear next to a Hello Kitty hand towel and a sculpture by Perry featuring a bear with a giant phallus called Alan Measles. Sounds silly but it isn’t. It functions well together and the things he’s chosen all seem there for a reason.

It’s bloody good. It killed all my preconceptions about Grayson Perry (perhaps symptomatic of some latent transphobia, or prejudices about those bloody exhibitionist arty types). His work is beautiful and covers very pertinent contemporary themes, and it’s all explained in a way that doesn’t leave too much room for interpretation for people who know f-all about art, like me.

He says very interesting and sensible things like:

I am a transvestite so I have always questioned gender roles and our attitudes to sex. In contemporary society there is much anxiety about the “sexualisation” of our culture but sexual imagery has always been around. I think what many commentators are really complaining about is the violence, exploitation, sexism and commercialism that are often a part of sexual imagery.

You can watch a video about it, featuring Perry wearing a wicked sweater.

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