Friday, 7 August 2009
At a party near The British Museum last night. Someone asked artist Grayson Perry(en homme in white trousers) about the motor bike embroidered on his t-shirt. This prompted him to tell a good story about the US Ambassador's 4th July party last year. I remember him looking deliciously out of place on the crowded lawn of Winfield House in a girl's satin party dress, frilly white socks and white mary janes.
Perry told us, delightedly, that he met the head of Harley Davidson distribution (Europe) who was totally baffled to find himself discussing the merits of their very latest model with this outrageously infantile transvestite. We don't think the Harley man was aware that Grayson Perry wore a similar outfit the night he won the prestigious Turner prize for contemporary art in 2003.
He has said that the art world was more shocked by his pottery (usually demoted to 'craft' ) than by his dressing up.
The pots are rich with imageryfull of stylistic and cultural references. His is a dystopic vision: a kind of obsessive teenage compulsion with the perverse, the unspeakable and the insistent concerns (by his own admission) of an angry working class man who was excited by the idea of subverting night-school pottery classes .
Two Children Born on the Same Day
42 x 30 x 30 cm from www.saatchi-gallery.co.uk
G P's textile works are sometimes overlooked. I find these more compelling than the earthenware. Well, his very dressing-up is a textile narrative about gender identity, repression and the right to self-expression. But look closely at the detail of those nursery-style dresses and you will find a perverse iconography.
Grayson Perry, like many transvetite men, is married. His wife Phil is a psychotherapist and his daughter Florence is entirely at ease with her father's alter ego Claire. His 'autobiography' Portrait of The Artist as a Young Girl (written by Wendy Jones) is frank, direct, charming.
Rather like G P here talking to camera. Brilliant.
courtesy Telegraph Online
Back to the Harley Davidson. This suit of leathers was a present from his wife. GP designed it himself, inspired by the Cerne Giant hill carving.