Monday, 3 November 2014
playing to the gallery (with smudges)
After Russell Brand, another Essex-lad book I've just read is Grayson Perry's reprise of his Reith Lectures.
It's an accessible discussion about fine art, which recognises the potential airs and graces of such discourse, but then avoids them to keep a broad audience.
I listened to the original lectures and can hear Perry's voice as he walks through the themes in this book. And yes, its a physical book rather than a Kindle; there's some delightful little sketches within to illuminate some of the topics.
In another of Perry's books and shows called 'The vanity of small differences' he reviews tribes and makes a point about the tribe of Romford car tuning enthusiasts' checking out their sub-woofers compared with weekenders browsing at a farm shop. Different tribes showing their allegiances.
He brings the thinking into the world of art and the multifarious needs of artists, agents, collectors, museums and the general public.
Each to their own part in the world of artistic appreciation.
I've looked at many Grayson Perry art pieces over the years, and they generally set me thinking. I'll consider this little book to be another one.
Somewhere, he makes the point (also relevant to blogging) about irony as a hipster response to a topic; a self protection usable for a flippant quick browse or as a way to demonstrate deep thought on a topic. Apparent elitism. Roll up to join the sniggering classes. The up and down side is that this mode doesn't give much away.
I applaud his small observations which flag criticisms of arty groups posturing as an elitist club.
Somewhere else, he makes the point about well-known artists who sign things thereby enhancing their value. Dollar bills spring to mind. Curiously, this little book has a very strange dust cover; the lower half, where Perry's signature is portrayed, is printed with some kind of smudging ink. The rest of the black print doesn't do it.
I wondered if this was a deliberate gesture, in keeping with Perry's sense of mischief? It's the closest I'll get to 'owning' anything by the man. I'll happily own the mischief.