Exhibition: Grayson Perry at the British Museum

Green-glazed composition staff-terminal in the form of the god Bes sitting on a lotus flower with a monkey between his feet. Egypt, 664–332 BC. © The Trustees of the British Museum.

We wondered about this show, curated by artist Grayson Perry, which shows new work by him alongside objects made by unknown men and women throughout history from the British Museum’s collection. Just how many times would we get a kick out of seeing Perry’s teddy bear, Alan Measles, enshrined into art? In fact, it doesn’t matter if you’re not a fan of Perry’s use of kitsch: this is a really wonderful exhibition because the treasures Perry has chosen from the British Museum are such treasures. It’s hard to notice a Tomb Figure from the Tang Dynasty when it is in a room filled with other Tomb Figures from the same period, but taken out of context and put next to Perry’s contemporary work (some of which, there’s no denying it, is tremendously sly and witty), you look at it really properly. Perry has chosen the pieces with great care, and they are all the more touching for being made by anonymous artisans and craftesmen and women. Look out, in particular for the little Soul House, a symbolic abode for the souls of the dead, made in Egypt about 4000 years ago. It is so moving and humble and beautiful. We saw this show, which isn’t too big or exhausting, with an 11 year old, and she loved it too, so full marks all round. The exhibition also has its own shop, which is good for presents.

Grayson Perry: The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman
Till 19 Feb 2012. British Museum open daily 10am - 5.30pm, and till 8.30pm on Fridays
The British Museum, Great Russell Street, WC1B 3DG
£8 - £10; free for under 16 years
020 7323 8181
— Daisy
3rd November 2011

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