British Museum blog

Grayson Perry at the British Museum?

Philip Attwood, Exhibition Project Curator
Chair of the Modern Museum Group at the British Museum

You might be wondering why a contemporary artist is putting on a show at the British Museum. Well, the artist is Grayson Perry, Turner Prize winner, probably most famous for his witty and satirical ceramics. He approached the Museum a few years ago and proposed an exhibition which would pay tribute to anonymous craftsmen and craftswomen over the centuries. The British Museum is the ideal place for this, as its collection spans over 2.5 million years of human culture and most of the objects in the collection were made by people whose names are lost to us today. There is almost no other place on earth that could claim to represent the history and culture of humankind. Grayson’s work sits alongside these objects, and shows us new ways of looking at the collection.

The Museum also has a tradition of working with contemporary artists. Years ago we worked with Henry Moore and Eduardo Paolozzi and in the last few years the Museum has played host to the exhibitions Statuephilia (2008), which included works by Antony Gormley. Damien Hirst, and Marc Quinn, and Medals of Dishonour (2009), which featured medals by William Kentridge, Jake & Dinos Chapman, Steve Bell and even an example by Grayson. This is in addition to the ongoing work by curators across the Museum to make sure the collection contains contemporary pieces – from many cultures across the world.

I have spent two years behind the scenes, working with Eleanor Bradshaw and curators from departments across the Museum to help Grayson put his exhibition together. I’m really pleased to finally get to share it with you. The press reviews are just starting to come in, and writing in The Independent, Howard Jacobson called it ‘the best exhibition by a contemporary artist I’ve seen in years.’ Some have questioned why this exhibition is at the British Museum but I hope the answer is becoming clear.

Neil MacGregor, Director of the Museum, has explained that it is quite different to anything we’ve done before. Usually exhibitions will be based on academic research of a particular subject, but the British Museum is also a “storehouse of the world’s imagination”. It’s a source of inspiration and has been for many artists. This exhibition shows how we can think about the world in new ways and reveals the extraordinary imaginative power of the collection.

Grayson has made it explicit that he wants the viewer of the exhibition to come away inspired. If you have visited the exhibition, what did you think? Please tell us which bits you enjoyed and which you didn’t on Twitter using #graysonperry or comment below.

I wanted the exhibition to offer an insight into Grayson’s creative imagination, and show that there are many different interpretations of objects in the Museum. Many people associate the Museum with ancient things, even though many of the pieces in the collection are contemporary. I hope this exhibition has changed people’s views.

I look forward to reading and responding to your thoughts and comments.

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

64 Responses - Comments are closed.

  1. Matthew Haigh says:

    This exhibition breathes new air into the BM. Seen in fresh context the BM exhibits come alive and are appreciated all the more for their aesthetic qualities, which can’t be a bad thing. Plus it’s fun. So refreshing to hear other visitors laughing and talking animatedly. Isn’t that what museums are for?


  2. Neil Lawson says:

    In a nutshell, I reckon exhibiting Grayson’s work is a brilliant idea and I very much like the thinking behind it. Well done to all concerned. I look forward to visiting before long.


  3. Sylvia Smith says:

    We came away invigorated and elated, but also in somewhat of a reflective mood. It was absorbing, thought-provoking, exciting and thoroghly enjoyable. Only sorry my 2 grandchildren, who live overseas, will not see it.


  4. The exhibition certainly provides a new take on the British Museum collections and we’re really pleased that visitors seem to be enjoying it – and finding it stimulating. We tried hard to balance Grayson’s ideas and the factual information that people expect of the BM, and still to leave room for visitors to make their own connections and follow their own lines of thought.


  5. Roger Hanauer says:

    What a revelation ! To find such a clear thinking and articulate individual beneath a somewhat challenging exterior.We both found Mr Perry’s range of skills amazing .His subtle blend, of poking fun at the more stupid elements of contempory life,whilst presenting his ripost in a beautiful art form was easy to assimilate and echoed our own views.
    The interspertion of his works with those of the Museum was seemless and worked wonderfully.
    Altogether a most invigorating experiece.

    Thank you ! Roger Hanauer & Sue Slade.


  6. Grace Maryon says:

    I have just visited this exhibition. There can be no doubt that Grayson Perry is a talented and skilled artist. I looked forward with anticipation this exhibition especially the conversation between his work and works of antiquity.

    While I enjoyed this thought provoking exhibition, I came away with some concerns.

    The relationship /conversation with Africa seemed to fulfill all the sterotypes I hoped were consigned to the dustbin.

    Grayson Perry would do better to have conversations with people of African heritage then he would not find the continent so unsettling.
    Secondly why were there no dates on the African artifacts?
    Look forward to hearing an explanation.
    Thank you


  7. Good to hear that so many people have been enjoying the exhibition.

    I’m not sure that Grayson Perry finds Africa unsettling. He’s not been to Africa (as the title of one of his pots tells us) and is ready to admit that his knowledge of the continent is therefore at one remove. As he writes in the book accompanying the exhibition, his Africa ‘is not the “real” Africa’. On the other hand his admiration for Africa is indicated by the number of artefacts from many different parts of the continent that are included in the show, including the Asafo flag (1850-1927) – admired for its ‘freshness’ – and pieces from Nigeria, Mali, Egypt amongst others places.

    I’m sorry that not all the objects from Africa and elsewhere were dated, but of course it can be very difficult to date some of the objects in the Museum’s collection.


  8. Harriet Dell says:

    A delicious great banquet of a show, full of fresh observation, thoughtfulness and humanity. Loved it.


  9. Mary Evans says:

    I completely agree with Harriet Dell, inspiring and inspired. It’s definitely worth another visit and I will go again. Our Father and Our Mother and the Ship displayed amazing detail and originality. ‘In His Own Words’ on Friday rounded off a fantastic evening. Well done !!


  10. Romy Rose says:

    This is the right direction for the Museum to follow; it recognises that many of its artifacts were contemporary art of the finest regard when created and in displaying them in themed groups, it breaks away from the traditional museum displays organised by culture and time period.

    Some museums take this approach throughout their collections (e.g Te Papa, the National Museum of New Zealand – but that might be a step too far for the Museum as a whole (traditionalists would not approve!), but it’s a wonderful innovation for a specific exhibit.

    The other stregth of this exhibition, is that like private collection museums, the items are selected by one person with a strong opinion and a passion for the artifacts rather than a committee of curators who perhaps feel the need to display key representative items rather than those selected by whhim and fancy. Let’s have more exhibitions like this!


  11. Sherri Turner says:

    I loved this exhibition so much I was close to tears. I often feel I don’t ‘get’ modern artists, but today I was overwhelmed by the skill, the imagination and, most strongly, the heart of the artist that shone through his work. I can’t really put it into words, but today I felt as though mysteries had been revealed to me. It was a privilege, Mr Grayson. Thank you.


  12. Sherri Turner says:

    See how overwhelmed I was? It was a privilege Mr PERRY!


  13. Helen Scott says:

    I had never hear of Grayson Perry before I saw this exhibition. Now I shall never forget him. His works were skilled, unique and innovative. I paricularly liked the way he used his pieces to convey messages about our socio-political life; which resulted in loud laughter amongst my firends. (Not somehting you normally experience in an art gallery). The fact that the collection was a tribute to ‘unknown’ artists/craftsmen’ shows how selfless Grayson is. On every level this exhibition was educational and entertaining – for all ages. Grayson explicitly wanted to inspire people. Well he has been suceesful – I now want to create my own exhibition!


  14. Brian says:

    Apparently St Francis of Assisi wrote

    “He who works with his hands is a laborer.
    He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman.
    He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.”

    In this exhibition Grayson Perry eloquently demonstrates the truth of this. The mingling of his own beautifully crafted work with the historic artifacts showed this hitherto art sceptic the error of his ways.

    Thank you.


  15. I loved this exhibition for the beauty, wit and also sadness of Grayson’s work. Something that I have never witnessed before in an exhibition: perfect strangers spoke to each other about the work, pointing out unusual aspects, and most people were smiling and looking delighted. A suggestion: could you put a mirror behind the pots which cannot be seen from the back? Or did you intend that a portion of the pot could not be seen?


  16. Philip Attwood says:

    It’s really good to see that so many people are finding the exhibition so inspirational. I should say that we did our best within the space available to make as much of Grayson’s pots as visible as possible and I think most of them can be seen in the entirety. I agree though that there are one or two where a bit of craning is needed and one at least where the back is close to the wall. This was unfortunate but unavoidable – but I think it’s safe to say that there’s still a lot to see and digest!


  17. Monique Taylor says:

    The exhibition is brilliant. What an artist! and well deserved hommage to the unknown craftsmen.
    I went in December with my daughter and her partner, we all loved it. Many congratulations to all involved, including of course Neil MaGregor.

    M. Taylor, 76 years young????


  18. Rob says:

    Just stunning and thought provoking…an exhibition that is rewarded with repeat visits. What happens to the objects after the run closes? Dare I suggest the Ship/tomb would make a great centrepiece for the new membership room?


    • Philip Attwood says:

      Thanks for your very positive comments. We very much hope that at least one or two of the pieces created by Grayson for the exhibition will enter the British Museum’s permanent collection. On the subject of the new membership room, a great deal of thought is already being given as to what objects should find a place in it. It sounds as though it’s going to be a very impressive space.


  19. rosy says:

    I really enjoyed the exhibition, interesting, lots of cleverly well made items mingled with British Museum artifacts, it appeals to all ages groups and is well worth a visit, well done Grayson Perry!


  20. Gail Woodcock says:

    Since seeing the amazing Grayson’s Walthamstowe Tapistry exhibited at the Labours of Penelope exhibition in Venice Summer 2011 which opened my eyes to his imaginative and creative artisty, I could not wait to see his exhibition at the British Museum. I was not disappointed. The narration on the walls around the exhibition are very insightful as to what makes Grayson tick and are often very amusing and indeed do make you want to laugh out loud. The mix of exhibits from across the centuries and continents with Grayson’s own diverse creations produces a unique, thought provoking masterpiece of viewing. One of the most enjoyable exhibitions I have ever seen. Definitely makes you leave the BM with a feel good factor on a cold winter’s day. Thank you to Grayson and to the BM for being brave enough to do something totally different.


  21. Kate Sims says:

    A wonderful exhibition, beautifully put together! I enjoyed it from beginning to end and certainly came away inspired to create. It was indeed thought provoking but not pompous! My only disappointment was that the vases could not be viewed from 360o. Perhaps they would have been better on revolving stands within the cases. My favourite exhibits were the cast iron galleon and the illustrated ceramics, not forgetting Alan Measles!


  22. Ron Brownson says:

    What an inspirational initiative by both artist Grayson Perry and the British Museum. We have heard about this wonderful exhibition as far away as New Zealand.

    When Grayson visited Here in February 2005, he charmed audiences in Auckland and Wellington with his humour, generosity and incisive commentary. He was immediately one of our favourite contemporary British artists.

    Congratulations for a brilliant expose of the British Museum’s collection and Grayson’s heartfelt response to it!


  23. Klaus Heinrich says:

    Greyson Perry manages in this exhibition to articulate how it is to stand at the intersection between ‘history’ as we construct it, sheer expert craftsmanship, the wide-open-to-experience-now of the artist, the percipience of the social commentator, and the insight of the psychotherapeutically-minded. Like some other commentators above, I’m moved to tears by the resonances here to my own experience of being alive right now, which this show captures, integrates and infuses with new wonder and zest.
    There’s also a dialogue here for me between the humanity of Perry as artist, and the humanity that informs the curatorship of ‘A History of the World in 100 Objects’. This is art and ‘museumship’ coming together to help us be more human. AND it’s accessible & funny!


  24. C. Allen says:

    I had not intended to visit G.Perry’s exhibition, as I thought that his work would be too “outlandish ” for my taste, andalthouugh the “godess’s cape” fellinto that category, I was pleasantly surprised by his delicate touch and attractiveness of his pots.

    He has a very interesting view of the world, as expressed in the pieces he chose, and his designs.

    I agree that it would have been a good idea to place mirrors behind the pots ..or to place them on a revolving stand so that they could beseen in their entirety


  25. jane burden says:

    Learning about cheap pilgrim momento’s on Antiques Roadshow recently helped to make even more connections in this WONDERFUL exhibition. Not that more insight was needed; right from the start Perry was helping us to laugh and associate with him and his glorious BM journey. Artifacts that I have loved for years were given a fresh lease of life and it was often difficult to know what was old and what was Grayson’s! Discussion abounded!
    I could be stuffy and ask if perhaps some of the artifacts were degraded from their original purpose, but I suspect they all came from a society that knows as well as we do, that laughter is often the best medicine! Thanxs to all concerned. Jane Burden. artXtra Ltd.


  26. Robin Jakeways says:

    I really enjoyed this exhibition. What an inventive artist! He shows great skill as well as a fantastic imagination and a willingness to be different. Everything was worthy of close study.


    • rosy says:

      yes, I agree totally. It would be well worth extending the time of exhibition so more people can go and visit it and wouldnt mind seeing it again myself too!


      • Philip Attwood says:

        I hope you do come again! The exhibition has been extended by a week, so will stay open until Sunday 26th February. We couldn’t extend it beyond that as the next exhibition has to be installed in the gallery.
        As regard Jane’s interesting comment about the original purposes of the objects, we did of course plan the exhibition with the sensitivities surrounding the objects in our minds – but it’s important to remember that the purposes of objects are continually changing and indeed change in a major fashion when they enter a museum’s collection – Grayson has now added to that process in a way that visitors are clearly finding intriguing and thought-provoking. Thanks for not being stuffy!


      • rosy says:

        well I like to think that I am definitely not stuffy! I think it was great to see something a bit different in the British Museum but at the same time attracting interest into the artifacts held there, I think exhibitions like this are a great idea and will attract a wider audience and interest in the BM in general.


  27. Joy says:

    It was an amazing exhibition, Perry has a wonderful way of relating the past to the present and I was far from disappointed! My only criticism would be the space, it was far too small and compact for the numbers going through. I think I missed a few bits because there were so many people to get past, its a shame it wasn’t spaced out like the rest of the museum. Otherwise though a thought provoking and very witty exhibition.


  28. Andie says:

    It was amazing! My favourite exhibition at the British Museum. I regret not going twice really.


  29. Yein Chin says:

    I absolutely enjoyed it! Love the making process of this exhibition, I think Grayson Perry is a thoughtful, intelligent and extremely artistic person. Thank you all for organising this and hope to see more of it.


  30. hwhite30 says:

    I loved this exhibition, A lovely size, with an impressive collection of old and new objects. A really interesting look at culture through the ages.


  31. Abi Winder says:

    I was so inspired by this exhibition that I wrote an essay about it for my MA in Art Gallery and Museum Studies. My essay aimed to illustrate how the exhibition can be perceived as an example of institutional critique taking place within the institution, offering valuable insight and a critique of museological practices. I think that the exhibition will have a lasting legacy and I hope, from a museological point of view, that it will become a case study for more writers in the field. Well done to you Philip Attwood for helping Grayson Perry bring his imagined civilisation to fruition at the British Museum.


  32. nanafroufrou says:

    Quite simply one of the most inspiring shows I’ve ever seen. When I went to see the show I had just begun a doctoral study using art practice to investigate, explore and expose (British) sign language poetry. Grayson’s work in using art practice to investigate, explore and expose history, craft, anthropology couldn’t have been more timely or more inspiring. I’ve now set up a collective of sign poets and visual artists (People of the Eye) who will be spending the rest of this year creatively exploring through practice.Their insights and works will inform my thesis, challenge global understandings of sign poetry and, we hope, make for an interesting exhibition. (And if Grayson wanted to join us he’d be more than welcome).
    Thank you BM and Mr.Perry.
    (You can see more about us on or at


  33. C says:

    The Grayson Perry exhibition was the best exhibition I have ever been to.

    It was full of humour and humility. I came away from it with the feeling you usually only get after seeing a really good film that you think about for days afterwards. It gave me a wonderful sense of who Perry is and I found it extremely touching.

    Congratulations to both Grayson Perry and the British Museum.


  34. june says:

    Great exhibition. Would like more artists to curate their own shows.


  35. Ian Martin says:

    A wonderfully original way to view some of the artefacts in the BM collection and a perfect foil for Perry’s wit and artistry. The exhibition was thought provoking, accessible and, at times, delightfully funny as it explored the relevance of historical and contemporary culture.

    Having previously enjoyed Grayson’s work I was sceptical as to how it would fit into what is seen as the ‘staid’ and ‘stuffy’ environment of the BM but the juxtaposition of ideas and objects was inspired and largely seamless. How marvellous that some of Grayson’s pieces may now enter the permanent collection.

    All things considered one of the most enjoyable exhibitions I have been to in a very long time and a brave decision by the BM which, I feel, has paid off handsomely and which has set new (and very high) standards for the future role of museums in contemporary life. Bravo!


  36. Oliver Mantell says:

    I’ve rarely gone to an exhibition with such high expectations, or had those expectations so triumphantly exceeded. This exhibition will stay with me as a touchstone for what culture at its best should aspire to. I was moved, amused, challenged, inspired, engrossed, humbled and delighted. Thank you!


  37. Christina M Crittenden says:

    Having seen a couple of TV programmes beforehand, I had a fair idea of what to expect. Even so, I was thrilled with the show. I adored the vessel at the end containing the tool that begat all tools. I couldn’t resist sketching it a couple of times. Also, a saw another programme on Sky Arts by Andrew Graham-Dixon afterwards. He was exploring various relics, for me, this helped me appreciate Graysons ideas and choices even more with retrospect.


  38. Sarah says:

    Myself, husband and ten year old sons really enjoyed the Grayson Perry exhibition. We visited for a Cub Scout sleepover and had the most fantastic time doing the workshops. I certainly never dreamt that I would sleep next to the lion hunt frieze! Although I knew of Grayson Perry beforehand I was fascinated by his choice of objects and loved the boat. My sons still talk about the exhibition today, particularly the ‘lego brick’, the whole experience has broadened their outlook and thinking. Thankyou.


  39. Debbie Curtis says:

    I loved the exhibition, wished I’d had time to go twice as I felt I hadn’t seen enough yet.

    I didn’t know much about Grayson Perry beforehand and was stunned by the huge variety of skills he has and the immense intelligence evident in the display.

    I liked the sense that he was welcoming us in to enjoy the exhibition rather than trying to provoke reaction.

    I think the part that I enjoyed most was seeing his modern work alongside the ancient and anonymous pieces.

    I’m doing a pottery course and am studying prehistoric archaeology, so a great deal of the exhibition was relevant and made me think. The hand axe at the centre of the exhibition is magnificent.

    It definitely did breathe new life into the museum and was a huge amount of fun.

    It has inspired me hugely. Thank you to GP and the BM.

    ps the afternoon tea was a hoot!


  40. Rebecca Hope says:

    I really loved Grayson’s thoughts on craftspeople down the ages, and his work in response to the pieces he picked from the collection was stunning. The museum pieces came alive in relation to his work, and it made me look at the pieces in a completely different way. I really hope the BM does more work like this, and invites more contemporary takes on the collection.


  41. I had not been to the British Museum for many years and was drawn to the Grayson Perry exhibition because of the novel idea of juxtaposing his work with work which related to it. I found this idea exciting and refreshing and indeed inspiring.
    As a practising artist, it gave me licence to refer to my past, my passions, my fascinations and to combine and refer to whatever I like. Technically his work is unusual and expert and I found that in every object, whether he made it or it was made by an unknown craftsperson, I took delight in examining the methods and techniques with equal fascination.
    I think that this was an inspired exhibition, only absent was the pretentious and arcane attitude to the audience that often comes across in such a high quality display.
    Well done for the courage and imagination in choosing Grayson Perry to curate and display this collection of work together.
    It will be a hard act to follow!


  42. Simon Goddard says:

    The best art show in London in as long as I can remember – and that’s even taking into account Leonardo being in town at the same time. It was beyond just “an exhibition” and opened up so many new possibilities about ways and means to exhibit art, the future role of artist as curator, the expectations of the visitor and the function of a museum itself. But the lasting memory I take away from The Tomb Of The Unknown Craftsman is of sheer joy. I went twice and both times people of all ages were transfixed, amused and awed. It took an artist of Perry’s unique talent, wisdom and vision to execute but I hope the BM, and all major museums, gain courage from its success and continue to test and reward the public’s imagination in the future. That said, it did feel like a one off, a moment in time. Massive thanks to Grayson Perry (or should that be Alan Measles?) and the British Museum for a truly magical event.


  43. Angela says:

    This exhibition had such an influence on me. I have rarely been to the British Museum being under the impression that it was mainly a collection of ancient artefacts that would have little significance to me. The theme and careful selection of the items alongside Grayson’s beautiful and fascinating work gathered with such enthusiasm changed my impression completely. I have thought of the exhibition often since visiting and told everyone I know that they should go along. I’m rather sad that it is now closed to be honest but will be coming to the British Museum again in the near future.


  44. Mandy says:

    It lit up lightbulbs in my head.


  45. Fred says:

    I LOVED IT! Thanks to the BM to bring such an unique and very talented artist. I could not get enough and thought the mix of old artefacts with Graysson’s modern pieces was very quirky and interesting. From the moment I entered the room it felt like I was entering Graysson’s mind and discovered the world through someone else’s eyes and emotions. it was very touching and moving.Well done again!


  46. Elizabeth Kane says:

    A fantastic exhibition in terms of content and ambition but sadly less impressed with space for show in relation to visitor numbers which I do understand attendance can be very difficult to estimate.

    What was the maximum capacity in the temporary exhibition space was and were tickets released in batches of the same quantity on a periodic basis irrespective of how full the exhibition space was? I certainly felt that it was continually becoming more crowded. So much so that if you took a step back from an exhibit someone sandwiched themselves between you and the work!

    That said I would have been disappointed if I hadn’t been able to get in so am not sure what the solution could be!? This is precisely the reason I didn’t feedback to a member of the front of house staff as I’m not sure what could be done!

    I left wondering about the size and suitability of the temporary exhibition space?
    Compared to the rest of the galleries it is relatively small and yet it plays such a crucial role in attracting visitors. Would it be reasonable to suggest a larger alternative space might better serve visitors and the British Museum? Or did I just pick the wrong day? Am I arguing for fewer ticket sales and higher quality visitor experiences rather than the easier to measure quantity of visits?


    ps. Please do not think I was not blown away by the exhibition I was! Well done to all concerned with the commissioning, funding, exhibiting and staffing the show- Grayson Perry and all the unknown craftsmen. I’m traveling back to london very soon and will enjoy spending more time with your permanent collection.


  47. Absolutely loved it. A nice touch was his Relic, using a shard of his own pottery, which made me laugh out loud – the previous exhibition I had been to at the British Museum was Treasures of Heaven, the one with all the Relics, and it had slightly creeped me out.

    I love Grayson’s view of the world, I love his craft, I love how he reminds us to take our beliefs lightly, I love how he makes us question everything right down to gender polarities. Very good exhibition. Thank you.


  48. Yojimbo says:

    I loved it – and thought it was a perfect fit with the BM.


    • Philip Attwood says:

      I’m really pleased that so many people enjoyed the exhibition. We tried very hard to limit crowding by using timed ticket entry, placing a strict limit on the number of tickets sold, and extending the show in terms of both an extra week and longer hours at the end. However, I know that its very popularity combined with the enclosed tomb-like atmosphere that we wanted to create to make it feel very busy at times.

      I too am sorry it’s all over but very pleased to hear so many people saying they’ll be coming back to the British Museum very soon.


  49. Sophie Lewis says:

    This exhibition was an absolute joy! It was a breath of fresh air, challenging preconceptions about stuffiness of old institutions while retaining sympathy and reverance for them.
    As much as I’ve always enjoyed my trips to the British Museum it was heartening to see someone tell stories about the collection in an imaginative, intelligent new way.


  50. Anon PA says:

    Utterly blown away, hand on heart the best exhibition I’ve attended. Was constantly wowed and surprised with the depth of materials Grayson Perry uses, previously uneducated thinking he was all about ceramics. For me, his accompanying words throughout the exhibition were equal to the art on display. Wise, relevant, honest and playful. I blogged about it here.

    Genuinely sad to see it go but feel very privileged to have felt part of something so inspiring.

    Congratulations to all involved. You should feel rightly proud.


  51. wiaag says:

    My friends and I went on the pilgrimage to the shrine of A.M. Two of us had seen ‘The Charms of Lincolnshire’ show in the Usher Gallery several years ago so had an inkling of what was in store. But this was so much more! We immersed ourselves in G.P.’s world and breathed in the brilliance.
    Memories include the very small shrines reflected in the large Grayson shrines, the flag ‘Carry Your Beliefs Lightly’, the stone tool on the ship, the bamboo map. There was so much to see we went twice! The references to the artists work on the motor bike reminded us of eternal truths – have patience, live in doubt … We regularly remind ourselves of the Grayson messages as we toil at our own art works. We are much more aware that all the makers of the objects at the B.M. are reflecting their truth, their beliefs, their times and so send a message to the future. Their presence as makers is much more in our minds now when looking at objects and artifacts in museums etc. Some truths are rarely eternal, beliefs come and go, times change …. But we humans can rise to that challenge and see ourselves as on that pilgrimage to grasping a little understanding of the human condition and our responsibilities as citizens in our world. May we all have our own A.M. to accompany us.
    Thank so much Grayson for imagining how it could be and making it how it was.
    Three cheers for the British Museum for allowing him.
    And a bow to those anonymous makers.
    From A, J, N and S


  52. Kate CG says:

    Joyous, thought-provoking, inspiring, beautiful. The selection of ancient and modern artifacts next to GP’s own works was a wonderful taster for the treasures of the Museum and the juxtaposition gave them new meaning and resonance. The visit, a gift from my son, was one of the best Sunday mornings I have spent. I could have stayed all day, all week, and seen something new in the detail. It made me smile, frown, laugh, think and leave wanting to create. Thank you, British Museum; and thank you so very much, Grayson Perry.


  53. Even my (lovely) accountant husband loved it. I took him the second time I went. And I don’t do that lightly – his (non)attention span is legendary and usually he wants to leave within 5 minutes. But not this time. He was entranced, as was I. Our favourites were the mother and father iron figures which we stayed in front of so long someone prodded me from behind to see if I was still breathing.

    Pleeeease give us some more eclectic, surprising, mixed-up, imaginative exhibitions like this one.

    Thank you (and Mr Perry), lots.


  54. Grayson’s exhibition, I have to say, was the most inspiring I’ve ever been to. Witty, intelligent, humble, humane, with outstanding artistic vision & craftspersonship. The pilgrimage aspect gave it a strong narrative thrust and a moral force not associated with (post)modern artistic ‘irony’. It did something to my brain & I drew this in a fit of madness:


  55. Michael Hingston says:

    Wonderful exhibition! It really inspired my 11 year old daughter, Isobel, who made designs for her own pot based on the Grayson Perry ones. Perry’s muse is his teddy bear Alan Measles, Isobel based her design on our dog Charlie and the woods we walk him.


  56. carrie says:

    At last someone has crafted together all the complexities of life, art and living in comprehensive and joyous way. Seeing and reading the different bits of this exhibition was thrilling, as I felt a sense of acceptance and harmony in the coexistence of so many beautiful items.Tomas Toft became more brilliant than I could have imagined due to this superbly curated exhibition and context of the BM.
    I believe that Grayson Perry has laid a new foundation on which the rest of creativity can begin a new journey of acceptance through humour, madness and guilt free pleasure.
    Thanks Grayson Perry


  57. Stuart Crawley says:

    I thought this was a very significant exhibition. Several weeks after seeing it I am still trying to process it. For me it was all about breaking down barriers: between old and new, between art and craft, between viewer and object. The waves and ripples of cultural resonance were at play throughout this exhibition and the notion of “influence” seemed more contingent and less linear than I, at least, have tended to see it.
    Although put together and contributed to by Grayson Perry this was most emphatically not an “art” exhibition as we generally understand it. This was absolutely performing the function of a museum – of putting objects on display and providing context and connection between them. It absolutely belonged in the BM far more than the Tate. This was big, educative and also fun.

    I think this will go down as a classic that will be talked about for years to come.


  58. Katie Hobbs says:

    Best exhibition seen for a long time. A proper look at objects in museums, and engaging the visitor with them in a very direct way. My fave bit- portable shrines- just like the smartphone we have today- that was an instant, clear, concise way of engaging the audience with something they would normally look at, think thats beautifully made, but not actually understand or fully engage with. Engaging would be the best word to describe this exhibition and what more could or should a museum want!


  59. Perry, who is known for his work with ceramics, was awarded the Turner prize in 2003. He is also a cross-dresser and images of his alter ego, Claire, often appear in his work.
    As well as ceramics, Perry has also worked in printmaking, drawing, embroidery and other textile work, film and performance.


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