I arrived this morning at the breakfast for the Royal Academy and Grayson Perry CBE, one of Britain’s most celebrated artists, graciously hosted by Dame Jillian Sackler. The event followed on the heels of the artist’s talk at the Metropolitan Museum last night in conjunction with his book “Playing to the Gallery”, helping contemporary art in its struggle to be understood.
A transvestite with a commanding presence and a playful sense of humor, Perry is a shining example of a human being who has triumphed over his traumatic childhood and through his discovery of art has found a way to express his deepest feelings and uniqueness. His journey from the small town of Chelmsford to being appointed Trustee of the British Museum and Chancellor of the University of the Arts London is an admirable one.
He is best known for his subversive ceramics and in 2003 was the first potter to be awarded the Turner Prize. He uses sexually explicit imagery and text to chronicle social concerns, his own formative experiences and to tell the story of his alter ego Claire.
His exhibition “The Vanity of Small Differences” at the Victoria Miro gallery in 2012 was received with great enthusiasm. In this exhibit, his tapestries serve as the medium for his comments about social injustices and hypocrisies. You can always count on Grayson to speak the truth, no matter how unsettling to the listener and viewer. I believe it is this quality that has charmed the board of the Royal Academy to invite him to the join them as a Royal Academician in 2012. He is a role model for many young artists.
He is married to the psychotherapist Philippa Grayson and they have a daughter. He replaced Sir Anthony Gormley, who stepped down on April 1, 2015, as trustee of the British Museum.