Giving you the tools to understand and appreciate art
October 28, 2013 12:20 PM   Subscribe

Grayson Perry's lectures on art: "Art is very popular but I think many people are still quite insecure around galleries, particularly commercial galleries which are quite intimidating. I want to answer a few of the very basic questions that perhaps people even in the art world think that it’s almost too gauche to ask. They might think they’re irrelevant or even that they’ve all been answered now and everybody knows the answer. I’m starting with this lecture called Democracy Has Bad Taste, because I want to talk about the issue of quality because I think this is one of the most burning issues around – how do we tell if something is good? Who tells us that it’s good? And of course does it really matter? And I want to talk about what are the criteria by which we judge art made today."

The Reith Lectures is a series of annual radio lectures given by leading figures of the day, commissioned by the BBC and broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and The World Service. This year the lecturer is Grayson Perry, potter, and winner of the 2003 Turner Prize for Art in and his four lectures aim to demystify art. With two lectures already delivered he has addressed how the quality of art is assessed, and what makes something a work of art.
Grayson is an incredibly engaging speaker and people in Britain can listen on the BBC site here. Around the world (I think) they are available as podcasts on iTunes, and you can also read transcripts here:
Lecture 1: Democracy Has Bad Taste
Lecture 2: Beating The Bounds
posted by DanCall (10 comments total) 84 users marked this as a favorite

 
Grayson Perry is great, and extremely funny as you'll know if you've ever seen him on Have I Got News For You.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 12:31 PM on October 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


This started showing up last week on my Reith Lectures podcast subscription. So far it's been great listening.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:43 PM on October 28, 2013


His TV show, "In the Best Possible Taste" is also well worth a look. He investigated the tastes of (British) people in different social classes, interviewing a variety of people about how they dress, how they decorate their homes and so on.

People in the UK can see this on 4od here:

http://www.channel4.com/programmes/in-the-best-possible-taste-grayson-perry/4od

He discussed the project on Start the Week. Here's the relevant episode:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01jggkt
posted by HoraceH at 12:57 PM on October 28, 2013


I loved this! He's so engaging and the lack of pretension is so appealing. And a lecture about art that is often lol-funny must be fairly rare (tip to new artists - write the name of a famous collector on the side and they might buy it...great!)

Also added joy of hearing Will Self ask a question about reproducibility in a technological age (and essentially be rubbished by Perry. I love Self too, but to hear his drawl being answered with Perry's animated "oh we get too hung up on uniqueness" pleased me greatly.)

Will definitely listen to all the rest. Thanks for the post, I wouldn't have come across these otherwise.
posted by billiebee at 1:21 PM on October 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


If your main exposure to Grayson Perry has been his one or two appearances on Have I Got News For You, where his contributions have been fine but modest, you really owe it to yourself to hunt down All in the Best Possible Taste, as HoraceH mentioned. It made sense of class in Britain in a way I hadn't encountered before, and he came across as a thoroughly likeable person - as shown by the way that people from all walks of life opened up to him and his questions about their lives and lifestyles. One of the best documentaries of last year.

I'm really looking forward to listening to his Reith lectures - been waiting for a few to build up so I can binge on them in the space of a week.
posted by rory at 3:00 PM on October 28, 2013


he came across as a thoroughly likeable person - as shown by the way that people from all walks of life opened up to him and his questions about their lives and lifestyles

My wife knows some of those people well, and they thought that he was a lovely man. Not a hint of condescension either.
posted by reynir at 1:44 AM on October 29, 2013


Tom Wolfe covered much the same territory a few decades back. Not bad, though.
posted by IndigoJones at 8:41 AM on October 29, 2013


One more link: Grayson Perry on Desert Island Discs in 2007

Willie Nelson, Tony Bennett, The Fall, Motorhead & more
posted by DanCall at 9:00 AM on October 29, 2013


Updating again to add the transcripts of the 3rd and 4th lectures:

Lecture 3 - Nice Rebellion: Welcome in
Lecture 4 - I Found Myself in the Art World
posted by DanCall at 7:43 AM on November 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I've listened to the first three of these now, and they're well worth it. (Says the inveterate gallery-goer and son of an art school lecturer.)
posted by rory at 2:57 AM on November 6, 2013


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