Survey by Qualaroo

Grayson Perry: Masculinity

Grayson Perry has spoken a lot about what masculinity means in the Twenty-First century. The ground floor of our current exhibition is a homage to his explorations, documentaries and books on this subject. Find our highlights below.


1. Kenilworth AM1, 2010 

(Grayson Perry, Kenilworth AM1, 2010. Courtesy the artist and Victoria Miro, London) 


"The AM1 was designed partly as challenge to masculine stereotypes. It is a huge macho machine but instead of being festooned with skulls, flames and naked women it is childishly playful and pink and is emblazoned with words that I thought the antithesis of the death-defying biker stereotype: patience, humility and chastity." GP


2. Object in Foreground, 2016  


(Object in Foreground, 2016, Glazed ceramic, Courtesy of the artist and Victoria Miro, London)


"Perhaps the most difficult aspect of masculinity to examine was its pervasive effect on the power structures and unconscious bias within the City of London financial industry. Men working there are well-educated, confident and operate in a culture of their own making, so it was difficult to pick out the dominant threads of masculinity from the dense and perfect weave of their business." GP


3. Death of a Working Hero, 2016 

(Death of a Working Hero, 2016, Tapestry, Published by Paragon, Collection of Charles Booth-Clibborn | Paragon, Courtesy of the artist, Paragon | Contemporary Editions Ltd and Victoria Miro, London)

"This moving ritual is part of the annual Durham Miners’ Gala where trade-union banners are paraded through the streets accompanied by brass bands. The blessing in the glorious setting of the cathedral accompanied by mournful music seemed to me to be a funeral for a certain sort of man." GP


4. Shadow Boxing, 2016 


(Shadow Boxing, 2016, Glazed ceramic, Private collection)


"The collapse of heavy industry that formed the communal identity of many parts of northern Britain was a shock that still reverberates decades later. For many males in these areas, unemployment and changing work cultures also undermined the foundations of what it was to be a man. In the north east the macho stoic stereotype still persists in a laddish drinking culture, but this peer pressure and emotional repression can have a tragic cost. Shadow Boxing is a memorial to the victims of that manly straitjacket, the men who could not talk about their feelings, who could not cope, and who took their own lives." GP


5. Animal Spirit, 2016  

(Animal Spirit, 2016, Woodcut printed on 315gsm Heritage White, Published by Paragon, Courtesy of the artist, Paragon | Contemporary Editions Ltd and Victoria Miro, London)


"Animal Spirits’ was a phrase that cropped up quite a lot during the commentaries after the financial crash of 2008. It seemed to be used as a way of offloading responsibility for the human chaos of the meltdown onto some mystical force, when in fact the men controlling the market are as prone to irrational behaviour as anyone." GP


The above quotes feature in Grayson Perry 'The Most Popular Art Exhibition Ever!' exhibition catalogue published by Particular Books,
Priced £16.99, you can purchase it now from our Bookshop

This book contains Grayson Perry’s latest works, in full colour - including his much-discussed 'Leave' and 'Remain' pots, and creations inspired by his recent TV series 'All Man' - along with an introduction by Grayson, his sketches and his commentary on each piece, explaining the thinking behind them.

The images and words explore populism, celebrity, masculinity, identity, Britain today and Grayson himself. They invite us to look again at the things we think we know, and show us that nothing, not even Brexit, is black and white.


If you are interested in Grayson Perry's views on masculinity, we also recommend 'The Descent of Man', available on our online shop here

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Wednesday 27 November 2019, 19:00 to 21:00

£15/13 + BF Book

Join The West of England Design Forum to pay homage to the counterculture classic They Live.