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
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)