Playing to the Gallery Helping Contemporary Art in its Struggle to be Understood

Author(s): Grayson Perry

Art History

'It's easy to feel insecure around art and its appreciation, as though we cannot enjoy certain artworks if we don't have a lot of academic and historical knowledge. But if there's one message that I want you to take away it's that anybody can enjoy art and anybody can have a life in the arts - even me! For even I, an Essex transvestite potter, have been let in by the artworld mafia.' Now Grayson Perry is a fully paid-up member of the art establishment, he wants to show that any of us can appreciate art (after all, there is a reason he's called this book 'Playing to the Gallery' and not 'Sucking up to an Academic Elite'.) Based on his hugely popular Reith Lectures and full of words and pictures, this funny, personal journey through the art world answers the basic questions that might occur to us in an art gallery but seem too embarrassing to ask. Questions such as: What is 'good' or 'bad' art - and does it even matter? Is there any way to test if something is art, other than a large group of people standing around looking at it? Is art still capable of shocking us or have we seen it all before? Can you be a 'lovable character' and a serious artist - what is a serious artist anyway? And what happens if you place a piece of art in a rubbish dump?


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A visual and intellectual delight Time Out Punchy, mischievous ... Hugely entertaining. You could, genuinely, take an aphorism or a quote from every second page ... This is splendid, transgressive stuff and a delight for the many Radio 4 listeners who responded enthusiastically [to Perry's Reith Lectures] ... In writing, he seeks to protect the personal in a deeply caustic art world, but in doing so also writes a love letter to art ... a thing of pleasure: petite, luxuriously printed, a mischievous little hymn to 21st-century inclusivity -- Melanie Reid The Times This book is full of good jokes, full of cartoons, full of memorable epigrams, but above all full of thought-provoking ideas that make you want to pause on every page and say: "Discuss." I have never read such a stimulating short guide to art. -- Lynn Barber The Sunday Times The book has [a] conversational tone and lively intelligence. Beautifully illustrated, it reveals Perry to be not just an artist but a wordsmith, too... This is writing with the eye of someone who says: 'My job is to notice things that other people don't notice.' It is full of insight, and of telling points... It is acute and funny at the same time. This, I think, is why people love Perry so much. He is really smart. He says the things we wish we had thought of, and asks the questions that we want to ask. What is art? How can we tell if what we are looking at is any good? Is it OK to like certain artists? Daily Telegraph

Grayson Perry's first art prize was a large papier-mache head he awarded to himself as part of a performance art project at college in 1980. Since then he has won many other awards, including the Turner Prize in 2003. He is now one of Britain's most celebrated artists and has had major solo exhibitions all over the world. His 2013 BBC Reith Lectures were the most popular lectures since the series began. He also won a BAFTA for his Channel 4 documentary on the creation of six new tapestries entitled 'The Vanity of Small Differences, All in the Best Possible Taste', for which he was also awarded Best Presenter at the Grierson British Documentary Awards.

General Fields

  • : 9781846148576
  • : Penguin Books Ltd
  • : Particular Books
  • : 0.412
  • : September 2014
  • : 216mm X 135mm
  • : United Kingdom
  • : November 2014
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Grayson Perry
  • : Hardback
  • : 1114
  • : 709.2
  • : 144