25 Jan 2016

Grayson Perry's 'Pretty Little Art Career'

From Nine To Noon, 10:06 am on 25 January 2016

Works by Grayson Perry, one of Britain's most popular artists, are on show for the first time in the southern hemisphere.

Turner Prize winner, broadcaster, transvestite and worshipper of teddy bears, the artist is a flamboyant concoction of many things - not least satire.

His work is on show at his first exhibition in the Southern Hemisphere.

The exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, titled My Pretty Little Art Career, covers a complete cross-section of everything he's done over the last 30 years.

It is the biggest exhibition of his work ever, featuring tapestries, ceramics - and the largest vase he has ever made, Mr Perry told Nine to Noon.

"Each piece took months sometime to make.

"When I walk around the gallery I get almost slightly depressed at the number of man hours of my life that are sort of gathered together in one place."

Mr Perry was the first potter to win the acclaimed Turner Prize and said the win was a breakthrough for the perception of pottery.

"There's certainly been more of an acceptance of craft media in the art world.

"There's no thing that you have to do to be an artist anymore, you can make a career - if you do it in the right way - doing anything, even pottery."

However, he said there will still minimum requirements for art.

"You've got to convince other people that what you're doing is art.

"You can shout 'til you're blue in the face - if nobody agrees with you, then it probably isn't."

Mr Perry said he ended up in ceramics by chance.

"I was a squatter, I didn't have a studio - my girlfriend's sister suggested going to the local evening classes because they were cheap and quite fun."

"I'm always interested in anything that makes the art world slightly uncomfortable, because that's a sign that perhaps the great 'baggy-bag' of art isn't quite expansive and welcoming as it would like to think it was."

Mr Perry, who is a transvestite and has a female alter-ego named Claire, said he was proud if he met someone he had been able to help deal with their transvestism.

He said the theme of angry young men recurred across the world.

"Masculinity is an issue that we need to deal with in the world.

"All of the problems of the world would be easier to deal with if we didn't just deal with the overarching one, which is masculinity."

Mr Perry said as he got older he found his work was less "spiky".

"Perhaps I try to make things that are more joyful.

"Despite some of the gloomy subjects I have dealt over the years I hope people will come out of the exhibition feeling uplifted, because of a sort of visual joie de vivre."

Listen to Grayson Perry talking to Kathryn Ryan on Nine to Noon.

The Museum of Contemporary Art Australia exhibition Grayson Perry: My Pretty Little Art Career runs until 1st May 2016.

If you can't make it that far you can also see his an example of his work at Wellington's City Gallery.