British Museum blog

Stunt double trouble


Janet Larkin, Curator of the Enlightenment Gallery

I’ve had an exciting time these last few months managing the installation of the objects for Grayson Perry’s exhibition. As part of this, I have also been tasked with changing the stunt double teddy bears on the back of Grayson motorbike, which you can see on display just outside the exhibition entrance. I usually work in the Department of Coins and Medals and look after the Enlightenment Gallery, and so getting up close to this fantastic motorbike is a real change for me!

Hundreds of bears entered their CVs and photos for Grayson Perry’s competition to find a stunt double for Alan Measles, who is of course Grayson’s teddy bear and ‘god of his imaginary world’. Grayson shortlisted the candidates to find his top 12 and then the public voted for their three favourites. The final three reminded us of The Story of the Three Bears, there was “a Little, Small, Wee Bear” called Dr Schmoo, “a Middle-sized Bear” called Pinny, and “a Great, Huge Bear” called John Duggan.

Last week, early one morning before the Museum opened to the public, we tried John Duggan out for size by placing him in the shrine on the back of Grayson’s motorbike. Dressed up in his leathers and wearing a fantastically ornate eye patch, he really looked the part. However, John was slightly too tall for the shrine and so, very sadly, he won’t be able to take up his place as the stand-in for Alan Measles after all.

This is incredibly disappointing for John Duggan of course. He had so wanted to sit in the shrine and for all to come and see him. However, we know that he will take comfort in knowing that he has been an internet star with thousands of votes. He now even has his own Facebook page, so do go and make friends with him! He will certainly go on to have many more adventures I’m sure. Whilst he was here, and in true stunt teddy bear spirit, he did try out a few poses on the motorbike which we caught on camera and which he wanted you to see…

John Duggan prepares for a ride on Grayson Perry's motorbike

Displaying his fine balancing skills on the handlebars

Enjoying the scenery

Posing like a true stunt double

And so, we now need a stand-in for the stand-in! The next bear on the shortlist from the final stages of the competition will be contacted and asked to take John Duggan’s place. Keep an eye out (not literally, like John Duggan) on Twitter for the announcement of who that lucky bear will be.

You may have seen Pinny and Alan Measles on Harry Hill’s TV Burp. Pinny is thrilled to have been on television. Have you seen Pinny or Dr Schmoo on display yet? Dr Schmoo is proudly wearing his Grayson Perry badge, and I’ve even found him a cushion so that he can sit on that big throne much more comfortably.

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: Exhibitions, Grayson Perry: The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman

One Response - Comments are closed.

  1. Archie says:

    Just returned from the British Museum today. I specifically went to see Grayson’s exhibition. Both my wife and I were bowled over by his huge talent. The exhibition was really well put together, showing how he was influenced by the other pieces of work on display. It was a treat and a perfect day.

    The museum hold such a vast array of pieces that I’ll never be able to have enough time in m y life to see everything. Well done.

    Like

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The next gallery in our #MuseumOfTheFuture series is Room 67: Korea. The Korea Foundation Gallery is currently closed for refurbishment and will reopen on 16 December 2014. You can find out more about the refurb at koreabritishmuseum.tumblr.com  The unique culture of Korea combines a strong sense of national identity with influences from other parts of the Far East. Korean religion, language, geography and everyday life were directly affected by the country’s geographic position, resulting in a rich mix of art and artefacts.
Objects on display in Room 67 date from prehistory to the present day and include ceramics, metalwork, sculpture, painting, screen-printed books and illuminated manuscripts.
A reconstruction of a traditional sarangbang, or scholar’s study, is also on display and was built by contemporary Korean craftsmen. This is Room 66, Ethiopia and Coptic Egypt. It's the next gallery space in our #MuseumOfTheFuture series.
By the 4th century AD, Christianity was flourishing in both Egypt and Ethiopia. Christian Egyptians became known as the Copts (from the Greek name for Egyptians) and the church maintained strong links with its Ethiopian counterparts. Since antiquity, Ethiopia had been a major trade route, linking Egypt and the Mediterranean with India and the Far East.
The resulting history of cultural exchange and religious diversity is illustrated through objects in Room 66, which reflect the faiths and identities which coexisted in Egypt and Ethiopia. Objects from towns, monasteries and settlements range from decorated textiles and architectural elements to sculpture and ceramics. It's time for our next #MuseumOfTheFuture gallery. This is Room 65, the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Gallery of Sudan, Egypt and Nubia. Ancient Nubia, the Nile Valley upstream of the First Cataract, now straddles the border between Egypt and Sudan. Rich and vibrant cultures developed in this region at the same time as Pharaonic Egypt. Among them was the earliest sub-Saharan urban culture in Africa, which was based at Kerma.
These cultures traded extensively with Egypt and for two brief periods Nubian kingdoms dominated their northern neighbour.
The objects on display in Room 65 illustrate these indigenous pagan, Christian and Islamic cultures and the interaction between Nubia and Egypt. This is our next gallery space in the #MuseumOfTheFuture series. It's Room 64, the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Gallery of Early Egypt. Rapid advances in the technology and social organisation of Egypt during the 5th millennium BC produced a material culture of increasing sophistication. Further innovations followed in about 3100 BC when the separate Predynastic peoples of Upper and Lower Egypt were united under a single ruler. The resulting increase in wealth and strong central control led to dramatic achievements in architecture, writing and fine goods, culminating in the building of the Great Pyramids of Giza in around 2600 BC.
Objects on display in Room 64 illustrate the cultural, technological and political development of early civilisation in Egypt throughout this period. In this picture you can see Gebelein Man, a mummy who was naturally preserved in the desert sands, and who used to have the unofficial nickname of Ginger (although the Museum doesn't use this name). In the background you can see an interactive virtual autopsy of the mummy which was installed in the newly refurbished gallery last year. It's Toulouse-Lautrec's 150th birthday! Here's his poster for a Parisian cabaret 
#history #art #artist #Paris Although this gilded cartonnage mask of a mummy conveys vitality and alertness, the features are more bland and idealised than those of other masks. The eyes, ears, nose, mouth and chin are highly stylised and not fully integrated into the face. The collar, the wig and the necklace with an ankh (‘life’) pendant, are attributes showing that the deceased has entered the afterlife and been assimilated with the gods. A winged scarab beetle on the top and images of gods on the back also emphasise the funerary character of the mask.

The use of gold was connected to the belief that the sun god Re, with whom the mummy hoped to be united, had flesh of pure gold. The back of the wig is decorated in many colours, with a row of deities, a ba and falcon with outstretched wings and seven short columns of near-unintelligible hieroglyphs.

See this cartonnage mask in our exhibition #8mummies – now extended until 19 April 2015.
#MummyMonday #mummies
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