Grayson Perry talks about staying in Arts Society magazine

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Turner Prize-winning artist Grayson Perry speaks in a candid new interview for The magazine of the arts society ‘s winter edition, released on November 2.

Interviewed by British art historian Jacky Klein, Grayson Perry gives his unconventional take on how Covid-19 has affected the art world and beyond. He also discusses how to deal with the uncertainty and challenges of being a living artist in the future, as well as the big picture, the questionable identity of the nation, the environmental benefits and the reasons for which “Greta Thunberg wets her panties”.

As part of the interview, he says, “I think every part of life probably has a little bit of fat that needs to be trimmed, a little bit of deadwood. It’s awful that the cultural sector has been decimated, but I think some things had to go. Too often, the audience for culture is just the people who make it – theaters with an entire audience of actors, or exhibitions put on just to impress other curators.

“With Covid, it was like turning a computer off and back on, and seeing which files reappear. Some of them, we don’t really care. What’s interesting is what might not reappear.

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Confinement

Grayson Perry, who celebrated his 60th birthday on the first day of the lockdown, joins the world in experiencing a new normal, one that for many, including Perry, has been depressing and lonely. Admitting that he has only “dressed three times since March,” Perry has found that his usually cheerful and ostentatious crossdressing has been immensely questioned over the past six months.

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In a candid interview, Grayson Perry discusses the big picture of how the current pandemic has brought benefits and consequences for the impact of the coronavirus on society. He comments: “The environment has benefited, forcing a long-awaited readjustment in our consumerist and high carbon footprint consumption patterns. We don’t want to fly now; we all ride bikes. Greta Thunberg wet her panties. Covid achieves whatever it wants.

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“The poor suffer more, the non-whites suffer more… It is a ripe time for social revolution. When everything is in the air, it means that the pieces have a chance of falling in a very different pattern.

Creative

While his creative days have also undergone dramatic changes, Perry has had an extraordinarily productive year. In the spring, he launched his heartwarming series on Channel 4 Grayson Perry Art Club which has attracted over a million regular audiences. The show encouraged those at home to make art at a crucial time when the nation found itself with extra time and needed a creative outlet.

The show followed Grayson and his psychotherapist wife Philippa to his north London studio as they made art themselves, while audiences also submitted artwork on weekly themes ranging from portraits to fantasy.

Jacky Klein’s exclusive interview with Grayson Perry will be featured in The Art Society’s Winter Issue (out November 2) and available online at theartssociety.org.

Cover of the Grayson Perry Arts Society
Grayson Perry on the cover of the Winter 2020 issue of The Arts Society Magazine (all photos are by John Millar).

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