London: Grayson Perry 'The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman' at the British Museum extended through February 26, 2012

February 3rd, 2012


Grayson Perry, The Frivolous Now (2011). Courtesy the Artist and Victoria Miro Gallery, London. Copyright Grayson Perry. Photo: Stephen White

In the The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman, Turner Prize winner Grayson Perry curates a show combining treasures from the British Museum‘s permanent collection and a selection of his own works. The show focuses on honoring the craftsman, the many men and women who have anonymously created craft objects throughout the ages, displaying contemporary objects alongside creations from the past two million years, according to the press release.

Green glazed composition staff-terminal in the form of the god Bes sitting on a lotus flower with a monkey between his feet. Egypt, 664-332 BC. Copyright the Trustees of the British Museum

Grayson Perry, The Rosetta Vase (2011). Courtesy the Artist and Victoria Miro Gallery, London. Copyright Grayson Perry. Photo: Stephen White

Through Perry’s selected array of objects and works, a range of themes related to craftsmanship and sacred journeys, such as magic and shamanism, holy relics and contemporary culture, as well as notions of identity are explored through hand axes and Hello Kitty. Part of Perry’s artistic contribution is a series of vases painted with images and slogans for contemporary life. The vases have a stylish wit and charm while maintaining a seriousness through their affinity to the Greek, Etruscan, or Chinese forms from which they are derived.

Grayson Perry, Our Mother (2009). Courtesy the Artist and Victoria Miro Gallery, London. Copyright Grayson Perry. Photo: Stephen White.

The coffin-ship, the show’s namesake work, is a playful homage to the Craft of the Craftsman. Strung with the “fruits” of the craftsmans’ labor as well as displaying bottles filled with liquids representing the blood, sweat and tears, the pun is carried out in full. Also present in the exhibition is Alan Measels, Perry’s infamous teddy bear which has appeared in previous artworks, as well as the artist’s alter ego, a woman named Claire.

Grayson Perry, Map of Truths and Beliefs (detail) (2011). Courtesy the Artist and The Paragon Press, London. Copyright Grayson Perry. Photo: Alicia Guirao, Factum Arte.

Re-engraved coin. Bust of Queen Victoria facing left, with beard and boating hat, minted in Royal Mint 1882. Copyright the Trustees of the British Museum

Batik from Java, Indonesia, depicting European figures, possibly Dutch royalty. Cotton, 1880-1913. Copyright the Trustees of the British Museum.

Remaining images via The Guardian.

– J. Schwartz

Related Links:

Exhibition Site: [The British Museum]
Grayson Perry at the British Museum, Review [The Telegraph]
Grayson Perry: The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman, British Museum, review[The Telegraph]
Grayson Perry: The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman, Review [The Guardian]
Grayson Perry’s Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman – in pictures [The Guardian]
Grayson Perry: The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman, British Museum, London [The Independent]
Art Review: Grayson Perry at the British Museum [New Statesman]
Grayson Perry: The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman: British Museum [Oxford Times]
Grayson Perry, British Museum, review [London Evening Standard]
Artist Interview: Grayson Perry [The Art Newspaper]

Nordstrom Rack to Open in Burbank, Calif.

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