Playing to the Gallery: Helping Contemporary Art in Its Struggle to Be Understood

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9780143127352: Playing to the Gallery: Helping Contemporary Art in Its Struggle to Be Understood

Turner Prize-winning artist Grayson Perry gives the 2013 Reith Lectures, presented by Sue Lawley.

Marcel Duchamp famously declared that a urinal was a work of art. It sometimes seems that anything qualifies, from a pile of sweets on a gallery floor to an Oscar-winning actress asleep in a box. So how does the ordinary art lover decide?

In four lectures recorded in front of audiences in London, Liverpool and Londonderry, self-proclaimed “transvestite potter” Grayson Perry discusses what makes him an artist, and asks what are the limits of contemporary art. He reflects on the idea of ‘quality’, and examines who and what defines what we see and value as art.

The mainstream media seems drawn to the idea of an avant-garde: work is described as "cutting edge”, artists are “radical", ideas are “ground-breaking", "game-changing" or “revolutionary”. Yet, Perry argues, art has lost its ability to shock; we have seen it all before.

Whilst recalling his own journey, from playing with paint as a child to being an award-winning successful artist, he reflects on being an outsider. He asks why men and women have made art throughout history, and discusses its central purpose: to heal psychic wounds and make meaning.

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Product Description:

'It's easy to feel insecure around art and its appreciation, as though we cannot enjoy certain artworks if we don't have a lot of academic and historical knowledge. But if there's one message that I want you to take away it's that anybody can enjoy art and anybody can have a life in the arts - even me! For even I, an Essex transvestite potter, have been let in by the artworld mafia.'

Now Grayson Perry is a fully paid-up member of the art establishment, he wants to show that any of us can appreciate art (after all, there is a reason he's called this book 'Playing to the Gallery' and not 'Sucking up to an Academic Elite'.) Based on his hugely popular Reith Lectures and full of words and pictures, this funny, personal journey through the art world answers the basic questions that might occur to us in an art gallery but seem too embarrassing to ask. Questions such as:

What is 'good' or 'bad' art - and does it even matter? Is there any way to test if something is art, other than a large group of people standing around looking at it? Is art still capable of shocking us or have we seen it all before? Can you be a 'lovable character' and a serious artist - what is a serious artist anyway? And what happens if you place a piece of art in a rubbish dump?

Product Description:

Grayson Perry's book will overturn everything you thought you knew about "art"
Now Grayson Perry is a fully paid-up member of the art establishment, he wants to show that any of us can appreciate art (after all, there is a reason he's called this book Playing to the Gallery and not Sucking Up to the Academic Elite). This funny, personal journey through the art world answers the basic questions that might occur to us in an art gallery but that we're too embarrassed to ask. Questions such as: What is "good" or "bad" art--and does it even matter? Is art still capable of shocking us or have we seen it all before? And what happens if you place a piece of art in a rubbish dump?

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