Playing to the Gallery: Helping Contemporary Art in its Struggle to Be Understood
Marcel Duchamp famously declared that a urinal was a work of art. It sometimes seems that anything qualifies, from a pile of sweets on a gallery floor to an Oscar-winning actress asleep in a box. So how does the ordinary art lover decide?
In four lectures recorded in front of audiences in London, Liverpool, and Londonderry, self-proclaimed ”transvestite potter” Grayson Perry discusses what makes him an artist, and asks: What are the limits of contemporary art? He reflects on the idea of ”quality,” and examines who and what defines what we see and value as art.
The mainstream media seems drawn to the idea of an avant-garde: work is described as ”cutting edge,” artists are ”radical,” ideas are ”ground-breaking,” ”game-changing,” or ”revolutionary.” Yet, Perry argues, art has lost its ability to shock; we have seen it all before.
Whilst recalling his own journey, from playing with paint as a child to being an award-winning successful artist, he reflects on being an outsider. He asks why men and women have made art throughout history, and discusses its central purpose: to heal psychic wounds and make meaning.
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