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The Problem With Modern Art, Illustrated

Cross-dressing, Turner-Prize winning ceramic artist Grayson Perry has been called “the social critic from hell.” In a series of cartoons in his new book, Playing to the Gallery, Perry directs his hell-raising criticism at the very world in which he’s made his name, skewering the monied art establishment and some of its biggest players, from Damien Hirst to Jackson Pollock to Marcel Duchamp. The book is an artist’s manifesto of sorts, drawn from last year’s Reith Lectures, a series of talks Perry gave at the Tate Modern.

In his cartoons, he skewers the commodification and commercialization of art, of work made exclusively for the 1% by artists who operate more like businessmen and might not have actually touched a paintbrush in years. (Hirst’s formaldehyde-preserved shark isn’t art, it’s an asset class, quips one cartoon). Perry criticizes art that’s “luxurious in its finishes, accessible in its imagery, and mind-boggling in its prices,” prices that lead to an elitism antithetical to what he sees as art’s deeper potential to provide refuge for outsiders, to reveal our shared humanity. “I firmly believe,” Perry writes at the book’s beginning, “that anyone is eligible to enjoy art or become an artist–any oik, any prole, any citizen who has a vision they want to share.”


For more of Perry’s cartoons, go here.

Playing to the Gallery, published by Particular Books, is available now for $24 here.

[h/t the Guardian]

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