We popped in for a nosey at the art on display from Perry and pals
We have really, really missed art galleries, so when we got the chance to pop down to Manchester Art Gallery for a peek at the Grayson's Art Club exhibition, we were on our way before you could say Alan Measles.
The pandemic is the only time Manchester Art Gallery has closed since it opened in 1823 and it re-opened in a flash of neon green and pink to a steady stream of emotional - but socially distanced - culture vultures looking to slake their thirst for all things visual. The second-floor gallery space is hosting works from a diverse range of contributors including professional artists and amateurs for the exhibition which corresponds with the popular Channel 4 television series of the same name.
The initial wave of free tickets for a covid-restricted first month is now sold out but the exhibition will run until Sunday 31 October once restrictions are (hopefully) lifted later in June.
Here are some of our favourites of the works on display.
Ode to the Country without a Post Office (2019 2020) by Raqib Shaw
I’m really pleased to say that none of the pictures of this piece by Raqib Shaw does it any justice. You do need to see it in person to fully appreciate it. There’s a lot of humour in Grayson’s exhibition and although Shaw’s piece isn’t serious to the point of being morbid, there is a bit of sadness there. What stands out most however is how beautiful it is as a piece of art. How it shines in the room, how detailed it is, how colourful it is and how it has a transcendent quality that fits with the theme of the room it’s in. Davey Brett
The Judgement (2020) by Lana Turner
Not to be confused with the glamorous 1940s actress, the Lana Turner that created this piece is a collage artist from Scotland. This one really grabbed me because of its social (media) commentary. Lana says she was inspired by the self-righteousness of people on social media that was “amplified” by the pandemic. The themes of privilege and finger-pointing are definitely something I have been struck by during these anxious and judgemental times. Kelly Bishop
NHS v COVID: fighting on Two Fronts (2020) by The Singh Twins
I found this piece one of the most striking but it also made me realise that we are “living in history”. The exhibition itself will serve as a great time capsule for future generations. Once we get out of this pandemic and it’s in the rear view mirror, the little references within this piece will have faded from our memory. I love they are captured forever here. Hayden Naughton
The Itty Bitty Chris Whitty Committee (2020) by Joe Lycett
At first glance, I thought this was another David Shrigley piece but on closer inspection of the description, it became apparent that it was a piece by Joe Lycett, who at the time was legally named Hugo Boss (confused yet?). Even though it’s clearly an amateur effort, the likeliness is uncanny and it’s comforting to see a more playful take on a man who I will forever associate with a sort of beige doom. It’s difficult to not read the call to action in Whitty’s voice. Davey Brett
Jean Michel Basquiat (2020) and Grace Jones (2020) by Noel Fielding
Noel Fielding featured on Grayson's Channel 4 show while he created his brightly coloured party guests using bits of board in his garden, “inviting” the inimitable Grace Jones and twentieth-century artist Jean-Michel Basquiat to his imaginary soiree. The influence from Basquiat’s work is undeniable as the real-life Vince Noir has fun with colour and confident impressions of character. Noel’s lockdown celebration took me back to the first wave of lockdown. A time when we all held tightly onto Saturday nights, inviting our best friends into our homes through boozy Zoom parties and quiz nights. Sophie Rahnema
Tea Towel (2020) by Grayson Perry
Along with the wealth of great stuff on display from pals, there are lots of Grayson's Perry's own artworks to love as part of this exhibition. My joint favourite - with a very sweary water carrier - was this very British tea towel. Reminiscent of Perry's brilliant tapestries, this kitsch but practical commemorative cloth celebrates the domesticity that, for better or worse, was a heavy feature of lockdown for us all. Kelly Bishop