British Art Star Grayson Perry Creates Buzz in Florida
It’s not every day in Vero Beach, Florida, that you see a 57-year-old man wearing a hot-pink mini-dress zipping by in a golf cart. But so it was on a recent weekend at the luxury seaside residential resort of Windsor, when celebrated British artist Grayson Perry, also known by his female alter ego, Claire, was on hand for the opening of a new, highly anticipated exhibition there.
After the Turner Prize winner’s most recent blockbuster at London’s Serpentine Galleries, entitled “The Most Popular Art Exhibition Ever!,” lived up to its name, with lines stretching around the block, now a show at Windsor is generating similar buzz. “Making Meaning,” on view through April 27 at the Gallery at Windsor, gives an overview of the artist’s work and introduces some of his most important pieces to a U.S. audience.
In Perry’s hands, traditional art forms such as ceramics, bronze, and tapestry are twisted into bold commentaries on contemporary life, taking aim at challenging subjects like identity and gender, social status, and religion. Visitors will find his iconic 2014 Comfort Blanket, for example, a monumental, richly patterned tapestry of a giant £10 note depicting the Queen, alongside a selection of his caricature-painted ceramic pots.
Perry draws deeply from his personal life and the moors of British culture, and presents it all with humor and wit through his naughty, probing lens. His talents extend far beyond the art gallery, too. With his notable charm and wry sense of humor, he has also become something of a television sensation in the U.K., hosting two BAFTA-winning television series as well as publishing a book, The Descent of Man, that questions traditional conceptions of masculinity.
This special exhibition kicks off of a three-year curatorial partnership between the Gallery at Windsor and the Royal Academy of Arts in London, with additional shows coming to Florida in 2019 and 2020. Launched in 2002 by retail magnates Hilary and W. Galen Weston, the Gallery at Windsor acts as the heart of the community. The Hon. Hilary M. Weston (a former lieutenant governor of Ontario) serves as creative director and has developed exceptional programming with previous exhibitions by the likes of Christopher Le Brun, Peter Doig, Jasper Johns, Per Kirkeby, and Ed Ruscha.
Along with hosting dynamic shows, the Gallery also houses artists in residence, publishes artist catalogues, and even encourages residents to try their hand at ceramics, painting, and photography by taking classes there as well. With all of this, it’s difficult to imagine time for the other pastimes at Windsor, such as golf, croquet, polo, and, of course, the beach.
“Making Meaning” runs through April 27, 2018, and can be visited by appointment.