This time at Art Out Loud 2017 it was the turn of the Turner-prize winner. The cross-dressing, Bafta-winning Reith Lecturer Grayson Perry, famed for his political pottery and tapestry tales.
His popularity as an outspoken and refreshingly honest commentator had ensured sold out ticket sales, with other acclaimed artists such as Cornelia Parker, Yinka Shonibare and Richard Long amongst the audience. A loud welcome greeted him as he took to the stage to poke fun at gender, politics and art itself. Speaking about his recent exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery, with the knowingly boastful title The Most Popular Art Exhibition Ever, he joked at length about Brexit and the current political climate. He was also quick to remark that the exhibition’s title had worked wonders for him on google, and had indeed turned ironically prophetic for the Serpentine.
The talk was more humorous than I had expected, often verging on a sort of comic routine, whilst still grounded by a presentation of his artwork and references. Perry certainly has a knack for one-liners and amusing quotes, and they were in abundance during the talk. The very name of which was ‘Democracy Has Bad Taste’. Perhaps the most bizarre, but memorable, line being that curators often provide an ‘intellectual condom to keep the work safe’.
The presentation was neatly ended with Perry’s conclusion that ‘for all my LOLs, there’s plenty of feels and I hope I’m a little bit woke’. And you can’t say that’s not an original take on the role of an artist.