New Times,
New Thinking.

  1. Culture
  2. TV
13 May 2020

Grayson’s Art Club is intimate and playful lockdown viewing

Filmed mostly in the artist Grayson Perry’s studio, there’s a homespun informality to the whole affair.

By Anna Leszkiewicz

The title of his recent Channel 4 show suggests we, the British public, are on first-name terms with the artist Grayson Perry; and it’s true that this piece of lockdown telly has a charming sense of intimacy and playfulness. Filmed mostly in Perry’s home studio – intercut with scenes from his other TV shows, grainy shots of the homes of other recognisable Brits, or pixellated smartphone footage sent in by Channel 4 viewers – there’s a homespun informality to the whole affair. This is appropriate for a programme that insists that art – not the lofty, grand kind of art that sits only in gilt frames in expensive capital cities, but the kind that you and I can make in our homes, here and now – might help us through this crisis. 

In the first episode, themed around portraits, Perry sits sketching his wife Philippa, chuckling at the eyebags that have appeared on her face over the years. “I have an idealised vision of you, Phil,” he laughs. “So it’s very hard for me to confront…” “The reality?” she offers, with a grim smile. We watch the couple pottering around, drinking cups of coffee and cleaning their kiln, as though they were on Gogglebox (the Perry family did appear on the celebrity version of that show last year).

“I’m well used to being turned down by the Royal Academy,” a gruff off-camera voice says as he takes some wobbly phone footage of a sculptural portrait. “Grayson Perry turned me down a couple of years ago, but I don’t hold a grudge.” Perry wheezes with laughter at the country’s attempts at recreating famous artworks as photos. I could do without the appearances of Channel 4’s favourite comedians (such as Keith Lemon) but Grayson’s meandering chatter – with his wife, other artists (amateur or otherwise) and direct to camera – is a balm. 

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via saturdayread.substack.com The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via morningcall.substack.com
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
THANK YOU

Content from our partners
Peatlands are nature's unsung climate warriors
How the apprenticeship levy helps small businesses to transform their workforce
How to reform the apprenticeship levy

This article appears in the 13 May 2020 issue of the New Statesman, Land of confusion