25 October, 2013

Grayson Perry: Reith Lectures

The Reith Lectures 

John Reith maintained that broadcasting should be a public service which enriches the intellectual and cultural life of the nation. It is in this spirit that the BBC each year invites a leading figure to deliver a series of lectures on radio. The aim is to advance public understanding and debate about significant issues of contemporary interest.

Grayson Perry: Playing to the Gallery: 2013

Live Blog

Grayson Perry on Bellebyrd

Lecture One: Democracy Has Bad Taste

In the first of four lectures, recorded in front of an audience at Tate Modern in London, the artist Grayson Perry reflects on the idea of quality and examines who and what defines what we see and value as art. He argues that there is no empirical way to judge quality in art. Instead the validation of quality rests in the hands of a tightknit group of people at the heart of the art world including curators, dealers, collectors and critics who decide in the end what ends up in galleries and museums. Often the last to have a say are the public.
Perry examines the words and language that have developed around art critique, including what he sees as the growing tendency to over-intellectualise the response to art. He analyses the art market and quotes - with some irony - an insider who says that certain colours sell better than others. He queries whether familiarity makes us like certain artworks more, and encourages the public to learn to appreciate different forms of art through exploration and open-mindedness.
Perry was awarded the Turner Prize in 2003, and is known for his ceramic works, printmaking, drawing, sculpture and tapestry as well as for his cross-dressing and alter-ego, Claire.

Transcript: Lecture One Download
Download Audio http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/radio4/reith/reith_20131015-1023c.mp3

Lecture Two : Beating the Bounds

The award-winning artist Grayson Perry asks whether it is really true that anything can be art. We live in an age when many contemporary artists follow the example of Marcel Duchamp, who 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. How does the ordinary art lover decide?
In a lecture delivered amidst the Victorian splendour of St. George's Hall in Liverpool, Perry analyses with characteristic wit the common tests - from commercial worth to public popularity to aesthetic value. He admits the inadequacies of such yardsticks, especially when applied to much conceptual and performance art. And he concludes that in his opinion, the quality most valued in the art world is seriousness.

Transcript, Lecture two Download
Download Audio http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/radio4/reith/reith_20131022-0940a.mp3

Lecture Three (to come)

Lecture Four (to come)

Video clips


1 comment:

glyn said...

(Beating the Bounds) Grayson will be comforted in his reservations about the validity of the proposition that art can be anything by the knowledge that there is no evidence worthy of the name that Marcel Duchamp exhibited a urinal as a readymade to demonstrate the point in 1917. In fact the only forensically admissible evidence that exists, from the time, and written in his own hand, states clearly that not he but a female friend was responsible for its submission. (Yes, that's right, a female - shock ! horror!) The urinal was of course not exhibited, meaning that it didn't qualify for Grayson's condition that, in order to be a work of art, it had to be exhibited in a context which confers that status upon it. Quite where this leaves the art of the second half of the twentieth-century whose validity depends on the continued chanting of the tired mantra with which Grayson regaled his audience remains to be seen. What is clear, hoever, is that not only has there been a miscarriage of justice, but that if there is such a thing as a 'father' of conceptual art (etc) it is not Duchamp, but woman - Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven. Whoops.