Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Grayson Perry vs Jonathan Jones

I read an article today which  was just plain weird.

It's is a massive snipe by Jonathan Jones who is feeling rather aggrieved with Grayson Perry. A classic case of "dealing it out but not being able to take it". READ Quote me on this, Grayson: you're not a true artist at all by
Grayson Perry has quoted my dismissal of him as ‘suburban popular culture’ on a new pot of his. But I’m no snob – and this is typical snark from an artist who makes dry jokes instead of feeling anything
This followed two things

First an announcement by Victoria Miro (his gallery) that the Serpentine Gallery has invited Grayson Perry to present The Most Popular Art Exhibition Ever! next year (between 8 June - 7 September 2017 to be precise) - and the release of an image of a new pot for this exhibition. This quotes remarks made in the past by Jonathan Jones (who is also somewhat irate about the fact Grayson Perry spelt his name wrong!) who has something of a history when it comes to "not being nice" about Grayson.

Those offended by Anglo Saxon should not read the words!

Sketch of two pots for the exhibition
What the Gallery says
Perry's exhibition will tackle one of his central concerns: how contemporary art can best address a diverse cross section of society, confronting subjects that are universally human. 
What Grayson Perry says
The new works I am making for this show all have ideas about popularity hovering around them: What kind of art do people like? What subjects? Why do people like going to art galleries these days? What is the relationship of traditional art to social media?"
What Jonathan Jones says
He really is not an artist at all. No true artist can be so calculating, so stagey, so conscious of playing to the gallery. There’s a rational dryness to his art that makes it dead on arrival. His incorporation of my criticism is exactly the kind of oh-so-knowing gesture that he offers instead of any true creative fire.
Methinks the man does protest too much!

The next article I read was by ArtNet - commenting on the Guardian article READ Grayson Perry and Critic Jonathan Jones Embroiled In a Heated War of Words by Caroline Elbaor, October 12, 2016

For the record - the tweets on this article by Jonathan are gathering tweets and retweets.  Here are some of the best

This is Murial Gray, who is the first female chair of the board of governors at Glasgow School of Art as well as being a a Scottish author, broadcaster and journalist.

She was retweeted by critic and broadcaster Waldemar Januszczck

also who in turn was retweeted by Jonathan Yeo, the artist - which is where I picked it up!

Then there was the poet and prizewinner George Szirtes's comment

I think the general consensus is that Jonathan Jones hasn't got a clue!  I've been noticing his articles have been very variable in recent times. This was something of a nadir!

The second thing that happened was that Grayson Perry met the Queen last night at a major celebration of the arts at the Royal Academy of Arts Queen honours Grayson Perry and other leaders in fields of visual arts and architecture (although I think the Telegraph writer misunderstood what was going on!) - which of course made for a spendid visual anachronism!

I wonder why Jonathan wasn't covering that?

For the record - my view on the article is as follows (as posted on my Facebook Page earlier today)
Let me be very clear - if I ever had to choose between Jonathan Jones and Grayson Perry, I'd choose Grayson every time for bringing some genuine original thought into commentary on contemporary art and society.


  1. I'm with you on this one. Grayson Perry is intelligent, funny and prepared to take a pop at others, as well as taking it. He has made comtempoary art accessible without diluting its message.

  2. I am not a big fan of Grayson Perry's work and transvestite persona (the 'Alice in Wonderland look on a grown man', like clowns, I find quite sinister and to me it just comes across as a publicity stunt), although I like aspects of his work, his use of colour and form and his technical ability....

    But,I was wondering how good the Queen's eye-sight is these days (and the Dukes for that matter)?..... as several of his pieces have text on them which is shall we say less than reverent about the Royals and he is quite fond of using lewd/rude words......
    It would be interesting to know what they really think of him and his work......

  3. I am way over here in Wisconsin but even I think Grayson Perry has done more and better things for art and artists than Mr. Jones ever will. I still love the Guardian but but will take a pass on Mr. Jones column.



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