The sometime transvestite artist Grayson Perry RA has been chosen to select the 2018 Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy. Perry who has captured the imagination of the nation with his current show at the Serpentine Gallery titled, The Most Popular Art Exhibition Ever! is perhaps the highest profile artist to take on the task in many years.
“Here’s art that makes a whole series of relevant points, without at any time losing its sense of humour” – Edward Lucie-Smith
The Turner Prize winner is one of the most astute commentators on contemporary society and culture, his major exhibition of new work covers many themes including popularity and art, masculinity and the current cultural landscape.
Perry’s abiding interest in his audience informs his choice of universally human subjects. Working in a variety of traditional media such as ceramics, cast iron, bronze, printmaking and tapestry, Perry is best known for his ability to combine delicately crafted objects with scenes of contemporary life. His subject matter is drawn from his own childhood and life as a transvestite, as well as wider social issues ranging from class and politics to sex and religion.
Taking place during the Serpentine’s summer season, when the parks enjoy hugely increased local and international audiences, The Most Popular Art Exhibition Ever!, tackles one of Perry’s central concerns: how contemporary art can best address a diverse cross section of society.
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?”
The gender fluid potter also unveiled his Brexit Vases at the Serpentine. The two vases, which took 5 months to complete depict the battle over Brexit, with one showing remain the other leave. The large leave vessel features images of Sir Winston Churchill, Nigel Farage, the Queen, Sir Francis Drake and a jar of Marmite. The Remain pot includes the late MP Jo Cox, presenter Gary Lineker, Barack Obama, Gandhi, Shakespeare and logos for Waitrose and the NHS.
Grayson Perry: The Most Popular Art Exhibition Ever! runs at the Serpentine Gallery until 10th September