Arts & Crafts Magazine

Grayson Perry at the British Museum

By Bertyc @bertyc
It's great, isn't it?
A feast for the eyes and somewhere, between the colour, words, shapes and textures, you're sure there's a deeper meaning to it all.
Sometimes art exhibitions make me think
"What is this all about?"
"What has a table of twigs, photos, badges and letters got to do with neologism?"
"What is neologism?"
I love seeing art, but like most people, I don't have an art history degree and so I am not fluent when it comes to all the references, history or techniques.  I know some labels like Impressionism, Modernism, Pop Culture.  But I don't think labels tell us everything and I don't think something has worth because it has a label or is part of a movement.  It's why I love craft, I think if you are making something with your hands that you consider beautiful then there is something important about that, and it shouldn't be undermined because it is not considered a masterpiece or it doesn't meet someone else's standards.
Anyway, I love going to art exhibitions, they make me look at things differently, question how I see the world and they also make me feel all cultural and that. I often go to the Arnolfini and see the exhibitions there and most of the time they are abstract and odd but I love it, it's worth being exposed to something new.
Last weekend I went to the Grayson Perry exhibition at the British Museum. The British Museum basically let Perry loose on their whole collection to choose pieces by unknown craftsmen and women for the exhibition.  After watching the BBC Imagine programme where Grayson Perry showed Andrew Graham-Dixon around the exhibition and his studio I really wanted to see the exhibition. He discussed the themes of pilgrimage, the meaning that artefacts and objects hold with different cultures and their social significance. But it was as much to do with these things as it was to do with Perry. I find him warm, friendly, calm, articulate and intelligent when he speaks; I don't find him pretentious, his art comes from what seems like quite a democratic place and what he thinks about art comes from a genuine place. I like that, what he's saying is that art is for everyone and I agree, art should be egalitarian.
He also spoke about the assumption that 'art' somehow takes on a greater significance because it's on the wall of an gallery. That an institution tells us it's important is a load of rubbish. So the exhibition celebrates the unknown craftsmen and women and the rich cultural significance they have in society and reflect a society's beliefs and attitudes, despite not being endorsed by an institution. These pieces are just as beautiful as anything you'd see on the wall of a gallery.
If you're looking for something to see in London, I would definitely recommend it, I enjoyed it thoroughly, it was funny, thought provoking, there was social commentary in there, it was interesting, engaging, articulate, clever.  And I think what is most important is that I felt and thought about all those things. You should go and see it if you get the chance.

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