Thursday, September 19, 2013

The elephant in the art gallery

To Tate Modern to see Grayson Perry give the first of his Reith Lectures about how to appreciate contemporary art. It goes out on Radio 4 on October 15th.

He wore a zany print tee-shirt dress, sea green tights, pale orange platform heels and Yootha Joyce make-up. 

What he said was interesting. The kind of art we get to see is chosen by a shadowy jury of collectors, critics, curators and sundry tastemakers, many of whom were in the room. When he made a joke they laughed just slightly louder than they would have laughed if he'd been wearing men's clothes.

That was the multi-hued elephant in the room. Surely the thing that makes art valuable today is the celebrity of the artist. I'm visually illiterate but even I've noticed that ever since artists became celebrities their art has moved from the arts section to centre stage and the prices have followed.

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