Grayson Perry: ‘Some arts orgs need to go’

Some arts organisations hit badly by the Covid crisis need to go, according to the award-winning artist Grayson Perry.

The arts sector needs trimming, he says in an interview in the current Arts Society Magazine, and the pandemic has helped the necessary culling.

Image of Grayson Perry by Jonny Millar

“It’s awful that the culture sector has been decimated” he says “but I think some things needed to go. Too often the audience for culture is just the people making it – theatres with whole audiences of actors, or exhibitions only put on to impress other curators

“With Covid it’s been like turning a computer off and on again, and seeing which files reappear. Some of them we don’t really give a damn about.”

He sees other hidden benefits in the pandemic, such as lessening our carbon footprint. “We don’t want to fly now, we’re all cycling – Greta Thunberg’s wetting her knickers, Covid’s achieving all the things she wants.”

The interview marks the artist’s 60th birthday after a career of 30 years which has seen him win the Turner Prize, be elected to the Royal Academy, deliver the BBC Reith Lecture and be appointed a CBE. With his apparently carefree approach with serious intent and front-page grabbing trans appearances as his alter ego Clare, Perry as a clown-intellectual has also changed many people’s take on contemporary art. He has exhibitions at the Newlyn Art Gallery, the Holburn Museum in Bath at the British Museum.

He says that Covid has also had the effect of exacerbating social divides, so that the poor suffer more, non-whites suffer more, the elderly suffer more. “It’s a ripe moment for social revolution” he says. “When everything’s up on the air, it moans the pieces have a chance to fall down in a very different pattern.”

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