Saturday, December 05, 2020

Grayson's Art Club : The Exhibition (and the television programme and the book of the exhibition!)

 Grayson's Art Club was one of the truly joyous aspects of the first lockdown. It's both 

Below I explain what we can see - and view - and read - and what we know about when the exhibition will be open.

Web Page for the Grayson's Art Club Exhibition at the Manchester Art Gallery

Grayson's Art Club

Grayson’s Art Club was the best performing series from Channel 4’s #StayAtHome Academy programming, attracting over one million viewers per episode.
  • Each week a different theme – portraits, animals, fantasy, view from my window, home, Britain – was explored.
  • Each week an enormous number of people around the country submitted their artwork for the theme that week.
He received nearly 10,000 entries, an overwhelming response to his call out. The variety of entries – using canvas, paper, photography, sculpture and mixed media – showed the imagination, skill and creativity of the nation. These works, alongside those of Grayson Perry, Philippa Perry and the invited artists and celebrities, will be on show in the exhibition. (Manchester Art Gallery)
The good news is that a second series will return to Channel 1 in 2021. Hopefully sooner rather than later.

Grayson's Art Club: The Exhibition

the exhibition will track the journey the series took as it unleashed the nation’s collective creativity under the constraints of lockdown. (Channel 4 Briefing)
Grayson's Art Club: The Exhibition - of the works by the public selected by Grayson from those submitted during the television series - and those made by guest celebrities - has been hung at Manchester Art Gallery.
All the works on display are very personal visual representations of lockdown, made by the public, well-known artists and celebrities for Grayson’s Art Club. This celebration of creativity in people’s homes chronicled the changing moods of Britain in isolation, providing a unique record of this globally experienced extraordinary time.
The FREE exhibition should have opened on Wednesday 25 November 2020 and run until Sunday 18 April 2021. 

Then the second lockdown struck - and the Gallery had to postpone the opening.

When it finished Manchester was still under ervere Tier 3 restrictions - so Manchester Art Gallery still cannot open.

However the current restriction allow the making of television programmes inside art galleries - and Channel 4 got permission to make the end of the programme which was broadcast last night on Channel 4. 

The Exhibition will open when it can. Tickets will be required. 
Alongside the public’s artworks, the exhibition will feature pieces by celebrities Jenny Eclair, Noel Fielding, Harry Hill, Jessica Hynes, Joe Lycett, Kevin McLeod, Jim Moir (aka Vic Reeves), Liza Tarbuck, and artists Jeremy Deller, Antony Gormley, Maggi Hambling, Chantal Joffe, Martin Parr, Raqib Shaw, David Shrigley and the Singh Twins.
I hope it comes to London too - and maybe tour the country if they can some sponsorship?

Grayson's Art Club: The Exhibition (on television)

Grayson Perry with his wife Philippa

I watched Grayson's Art Club: The Exhibition - the last episode of the first series of Grayson's Art Club on Channel 4 this morning over breakfast.

Here's a video trailer....

What's very special is that he visited a number of the artists - from a safe distance - and saw where they made their artwork and met the artists and heard what about what the programme meant to them.

This was prior to moving on to the plans for exhibition at Manchester Art Gallery. As he explained exhibitions normally take two years to organised - whereas this one was organised in about six month. Plus more artists have contributed art than any other exhibition they'd had at the gallery in a very long while....

I spent the last part of the programme with a smile on my face and with with very wet eyes as the works were hung at Manchester Art Gallery and looked - as renowned RA Summer Exhibitor Harry Hill said "It looks just like a real art exhibition".

I find it absolutely amazing that ordinary people - responding in a way that seemed best to them - should have an opportunity to record the pandemic - such a very unique time in our social history -  through some exceptionally creative artwork.

My favourite piece by "proper artists" was the illuminated (in more ways than one) artwork - done in the manner of an illuminated book - by the Singh Twins - who I am an enormous fan of.  The artwork NHS V Covid-19:Fighting on Two Fronts, 2020 (Slaves of Fashion Series) is also available as a print from their website - as a not inexpensive fine art giclee print and an expensive signed limited edition. 
In essence it pays tribute to NHS and other frontline healthcare workers whilst presenting a satirical look at the UK Government's handling of the crisis and also challenging notions of Britishness. Special emphasis is given to the contribution of and additional risk to BAME carers working within the health sector. The main focus of the composition is an Asian nurse depicted as a modern day St George, riding a horse, with lance in hand and battling the Covid-19 virus dragon on the edge of the white cliffs of Dover. Boris Johnson is shown straddling the horse just behind the nurse, thrusting a knife into her back, whilst pulling on the horse's reins. This imagery, together, with another detail (depicting Theresa May brandishing a 'Brexit Sale', 'NHS Workers' Rights' placard and a parliamentary bill voting down a pay rise for nurses), point to the hypocrisy of a government which claps for the NHS in public but whose policy and attitude towards public sector emergency services over the years (and across different governments) has hindered and caused injury to the NHS.

Grayson's Art Club: The Book

Grayson's Art Club: The Exhibition is going on my Christmas list as one of my stocking fillers!
  • This 276 page paperback is the catalogue of both 
    • the series and 
    • the exhibition at Manchester Art Gallery
  • it's not published until 17th December so I'm ordering in advance 
  • It's already made #1 on the Museums and Art Collections (exhibitions and collection catalogues) listing on Amazon UK! I guarantee it will go even higher......
It's an excellent record of a very odd and very challenging time.

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