British Museum blog

Grayson Perry Late

Polly Wright and Francis Olvez-Wilshaw,
University of the Arts London students

For one night only, this Friday 11 November, we, the University of the Arts London, are exhibiting alongside Grayson Perry’s exhibition The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsmanas part of the Grayson Perry Late event at the British Museum.

I have been fortunate enough to sit on the committee of students helping to curate the event. From the written proposals to meeting my fellow students and artists, it has been an interesting journey, one of excitement, fun and insight… and we only have a few days to go!

I feel I am speaking on behalf of all involved when I say it is an exceptional experience to not only be exhibiting in the British Museum but also to be connected to the loved and respected Grayson Perry. This was apparent from the proposals we received as they were filled with enthusiastic appraisal for the British Museum as an institution and for Grayson’s work as an influential artist. Our students’ are committed to creating works suitable to communicate this inspiration. Now, in our final stages of preparation, I can already reflect upon what is a wide array of idiosyncratic ideas, across all mediums, which heightens my excitement for the night.

Meeting everyone behind the projects has been great. Whilst hearing these talented artists animatedly explaining their projects I have become more aware of the raw passion behind their work. I think this will be particularly apparent on the night. The night will be an exhibition of a wide array of interesting and colourful ideas created by a mixture of solo and collaborative works.

The performance piece Touching Death – A Wake has been a particularly interesting project to watch develop and to hear the extraordinary story behind its conception. The connections between the artists and the pure shock ability of the live wake of a real person on the night are bound to be a thought-provoking, public way of exploring death on a dramatically real level.

Showcasing 25 works, from fashion to craft, discos to pilgrimages, I can assure you that the night will be both thought-provoking and entertaining. I am personally excited to watch the space transform – we hope it will highlight aspects within the British Museum’s expansive collection as well as support Grayson Perry’s work.

I am going to leave you with a list of words the artists have used to sum up Grayson Perry: Technicolor, eccentric, genius, revolutionary, cocktail, hilarious, crackers… I hope this gets you excited! See you there!

Find out more about the Grayson Perry Late event.

Grayson Perry: The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman
is supported by AlixPartners, with Louis Vuitton.
Book tickets now

Filed under: Grayson Perry: The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman

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We’re celebrating our partnership with @googleartproject, and have asked curators to tell us about their favourite objects. Hugo Chapman, Keeper of Prints and Drawings, explains why he chose this chalk drawing by Michelangelo. ‘One of the things I love about drawings is the way they sometimes allow a glimpse into the private, behind the scenes world of an artist, one unseen in finished works in paint or stone. An example of that is a red chalk drawing by Michelangelo of grotesque heads in red chalk that reveal that the Florentine Renaissance artist had a lively, if caustic, sense of humour. The three heads were probably drawn to amuse but at the same instruct his pupils, as the three studies show how slight changes can radically alter the reading of an image with the character and mood of each figure (paranoid anxiety; vacuous joy; and depressive gloom) signalled by the position and erectness of their donkey-like ears.  I wish my ears were as expressive.’ Discover many more incredible works of art in the Google Cultural Institute at

#Michelangelo #art To celebrate our partnership with @googleartproject, we’ve asked members of British Museum staff to highlight their favourite objects and explain what makes them special. Jill Cook, Deputy Keeper of Britain, Europe & Prehistory, chose this stone chopping tool from an early human campsite in Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania. ‘Holding this 2 million year old African tool in my hand I am reminded that whatever differences exist between people now, we are united by our common origin in Africa. The discovery of this piece by Louis Leakey in 1931 began to change our understanding of what makes us human. It illustrates the beginning of a transition from an ancestral ape that walked upright on two legs within the confines of a limited ecological niche to humans with more complex brains capable of changing and eventually dominating the world around us by making tools and weapons. This chopping tool is one of the seeds from which all human cultures and societies have grown.’ Discover the stories of thousands of objects in the Google Cultural Institute at

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J H Foley (1818–1874), Caractacus. Marble, 1856–1859. On loan from Guildhall Art Gallery/Mansion House, City of London. Some more #Movember inspiration! Here’s the Museum’s security team from 1902 photographed on the front steps. They include officers from the Metropolitan Police, and the London Fire Brigade (identified by their flat caps). We’re celebrating #Movember with Museum moustaches great and small. Here’s a #Movember fact: Peter the Great of Russia introduced a beard tax in 1698 and this token was given as proof of payment! Our unique new partnership with Google's Cultural Institute @googleartproject now allows you to virtually walk through the whole Museum! The British Museum is the largest space ever to be captured on indoor #StreetView, putting the unparalleled world collection at your fingertips. Come and explore!
#MuseumOfTheWorld #Google #ForEveryone

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