Grayson Perry, The Pre-Therapy Years

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Grayson Perry, The Pre-Therapy Years


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This book accompanies the exhibition Grayson Perry, The Pre-Therapy Years at The Holburne Museum from the 24 January to the 25 May.

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Thames & Hudson media release:

Grayson Perry: The Pre-Therapy Years accompanies an exhibition at the Holburne Museum, Bath, from 24 January to 25 May 2020, which will then travel to York City Art Gallery, York (12 June to 20 September 2020), and the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, Norwich (18 October 2020 to 31 January

Grayson Perry is one of today’s most popular artists, known for his flamboyant persona and playful pots. For the first time, this book explores Perry’s artistic origins through the artworks that made his name in the years 1982–94, exploring his role as commentator on contemporary culture and the emergence of his own identity as ‘the Transvestite Potter ’. The book includes an essay by Grayson Perry in which he looks back on this period of his life. Grayson Perry first came to public attention in 2003 when he won the Turner Prize, the first ceramicist to do so. He is now a household name as a result of his widely viewed television documentaries, numerous publications – including his critically acclaimed book about masculinity, The Descent of Man – and dazzling appearances dressed as his alter ego, Claire. Ceramics are still central to Perry’s work as an artist, and this book focuses on the plates, pots and statues from the early 1980s to the mid-1990s that laid the foundations of his career. With lively text, the book traces his artistic development and explores the iconography and meaning behind the work, as well as placing Perry’s art in the context not only of his own psychological make-up in the period before he underwent therapy, but also within the context of the subcultures of the London art scene at that influential time.

The book includes an essay by Perry himself on the beginnings of his career as a potter as well as commentary by him on some specific works, plus an essay by Andrew Wilson setting Perry in the context of the 1980s London art scene, and another by Catrin Jones on the iconography of the work in the pre-therapy years.

Chris Stephens is Director at the Holburne Museum, Bath. Catrin Jones is Chief Curator, The V&A Collection at the World of Wedgwood. Andrew Wilson is Senior Curator of Modern and contemporary British Art at Tate Britain.