“Making Meaning” with Grayson Perry
Photography by Scott Rudd
“Life is meaningless, it is an artist’s job to give it meaning,” says the acclaimed British artist Grayson Perry. Perry was recently in Vero Beach, Florida, where he held a captivated audience at The Gallery in the private community of Windsor where an exhibition of his work was on view. Curated by Erin Manns, the director of exhibitions for Victoria Miro gallery in London, “Making Meaning” runs through April 27 and is the first in a new three-year curatorial partnership between The Gallery and the Royal Academy of Arts in London.
Grayson Perry is known as a vivid chronicler of contemporary life, boldly tackling subjects that are universally human, such as identity, gender, social status, sexuality and religion. Autobiographical references abound in his work—many of which feature his childhood hero, his teddy bear Alan Measles. “A teddy bear is really an imaginary character to which you can project all of your feelings. He was my hero, a warrior and my God in some ways.”
Also prominently featured in his work is Perry’s colorful transvestite alter ego Claire. After receiving the Turner Prize in 2003, Perry hilariously declared himself the outsider by being “the first transvestite potter” to win the prestigious award. During the private view of the exhibition at Windsor, Claire glided through the crowded gallery baring her enviable gams in a jewel-buttoned fuchsia taffeta mini dress coat with matching eyeshadow and teal blue platform Mary Janes whilst sharing inspirations behind each piece.
“Making Meaning” includes some of his major works and vignettes from recent museum shows, including The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman at the British Museum and Who are You? at the National Portrait Gallery. Perry works with traditional media including ceramics, cast iron, bronze, sculpture, printmaking and tapestry, to create pieces which deliver “stealthy comments about society, past and present, and its pleasures as well as its injustices and flaws.”
Artistic Director of the Royal Academy, Tim Marlow, led an illuminating conversation with Perry after which Galen and the Hon. Hilary Weston hosted guests at a decadent dinner party at their stunning Windsor oceanfront home. Guests included Royal Academy President Christopher Le Brun, Brooklyn Museum Board Vice Chair Stephanie Ingrassia, interior designer Alessandra Branca, director of Victoria Miro Oliver Miro, Dali Museum Board Chair Karen Lang Johnston, and Helmut and Danna Swarovski.