Great Britain comes to Florida with glorious gritty candour on Monday January 15, when the works of Grayson Perry kick off a three-year curatorial partnership between the Royal Academy of Arts and The Gallery at Windsor, an independent art space overseen by Hilary M Weston. The exciting alliance will begin with Perry’s colourful and thought-provoking works, chronicling everything from contemporary life to sex, taste and gender. “I’m immensely proud that Grayson Perry is launching this partnership – he is one of the most perceptive and provocative artists of his generation and, although he will hate me for saying this, he’s well on the way to the status of a national treasure,” says Tim Marlow, artistic director at the Royal Academy of Arts.
The vibrant Making Meaning exhibition will feature an overview of Perry’s multimedia work, and will include ceramics, sculptures, etchings and even vignettes from a few of his most recent shows. Among Perry’s standout art is Comfort Blanket (£125,000, one copy from an edition of nine), an enormous tapestry originally exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery, London in 2014. A depiction of Britishness, the piece presents a portrait of the Queen alongside an array of cultural references: from Tom Jones to William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens and a simple “cuppa tea”.
Also for sale will be The Island of Bad Art (£15,000, one copy from an edition of 80), a cheeky 16th-century-style aerial map of London that highlights the cultural identity of its neighbourhoods: the words “Corporate” and “Money” signify the City, while “Kitsch” is a label applied to tourist sights. “Just Plain Dull”, “Derivative Rubbish” and “Proper Art” are labels humorously sprinkled throughout west London.
Hold Your Beliefs Lightly (2011)is a commentary on multiculturalism and religion in embroidery on cotton and silk that references numerous faiths and places of worship, while You are here,Perry’s glazed ceramic vase, is a humorous reflection on the museum-going public, complete with speech bubbles explaining their motives for visiting his shows: “I loved the poster” and “I just wanted to satisfy myself that I am more clever than this celebrity charlatan”.
Making Meaning has been curated by Erin Manns, director of exhibitions at Victoria Miro, London, and brings together a body of witty, accessible work that touches on universal themes and timely social issues. “We are honoured to welcome Grayson Perry as the first artist in our exhibition series,” says Hilary M Weston. “Windsor has a fantastic history of showing world-class contemporary artists, including Ed Ruscha, Peter Doig and Alex Katz. Grayson is a glittering addition.”