I dub thee ‘Art’: Backwash from the Grayson Perry Reith lectures

I had the chance to read the transcript from Grayson Perry’s first Reith lecture again today. Its very informative and well presented generally. Worth listening to or reading. This is the audio:

Democracy Has Bad Taste

And here is the transcript:

Grayson Perry’s Reith Lectures: Who decides what makes art good?

What do you think? Some good stuff, right?

The issue I take exception to is this:

I thought this was a good description of how the art establishment works, or as Perry puts it “how things wind up in museums.” The mistake is to think that winding up in museums or the homes of serious collectors is the only worthy fate for art.

Perry outlines a system of approval, but do we need that kind of approval? Some potters seem to think so, but not all of us. We can do without the serious establishment gatekeepers, collectors, and even without being ‘popular’ in the sense Perry uses it. We can make our living being VALUED by everyday people who get what we are doing and support us personally. And this does not mean that we need gallery representation, invitation to shows, or to be popular or in the public consciousness any more than folks need when they are choosing a plumber or electrician. You build trust by doing good work, not simply by having the right credentials or approval from the authorities.

Is this what some people mean when they discriminate between craftspersons and artists? That crafts people are in a mundane trade and that artists have to be playing the illustrious establishment game? I call BS on that. Something doesn’t become art simply because it seeks or gains the approval of gatekeepers. It either is or isn’t art on its own merits. Its NOT true that ‘Democracy has Bad Taste’. Making art is itself democratic. Making art is no more a single career path than art itself is a single thing.

Something to think about, at least 🙂

Peace all!

Happy potting!

Make beauty real!


About Carter Gillies

I am an active potter and sometime pottery instructor who is fascinated by the philosophical side of making pots, teaching these skills, and issues of the artistic life in general. I seem to have a lot to say on this blog, but I don't insist that I'm right. I'm always trying to figure stuff out, and part of that involves admitting that I am almost always wrong in important ways. If you are up for it, please help me out by steering my thoughts in new and interesting directions. I always appreciate the challenge of learning what other people think.
This entry was posted in Art, Creative industry, metacognition, Pottery. Bookmark the permalink.

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