First look at Bristol Museum's new Grayson Perry art exhibition

Grayson and Phillipa Perry
Grayson Perry and his wife Phillipa at the exhibition in Bristol. Credit: Jon Craig

A sneak peek of the much-anticipated Grayson’s Art Club exhibition at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery has been revealed.

Art works chosen by Grayson Perry and guest celebrities during season two of the popular Channel 4 series, Grayson’s Art Club go on display in the museum from Saturday (4 December).

Spread across three floors, the show is a "vibrant and poignant chronicle" of lockdown and forms a "lasting artistic record" of the unique time the nation has lived through together.

Staff unveiling The Covid Kids by Danny Shannon. Credit: Bristol City Coucil

As well as three galleries to explore, works are interspersed within the permanent collection to create a trail throughout the museum.

Grayson Perry said: “The team at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery have created a fitting tribute to the many touching and memorable works of art that were created by people all over the country. I particularly enjoyed flyposting the fanzine I created in episode four onto the gallery walls!”

Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, said: “An exhibition of this scale would typically take at least 18 months to develop but the team at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery have worked extremely hard to open within only six months.

"The role of art in our collective recovery has become more important than ever and the museum team will be working with communities in the city to help people unleash their creativity.

"It has been a pleasure to work with Grayson, Channel 4, and Swan Films on developing the exhibition and I’d like to extend special thanks to our sponsors, the University of the West of England. We are delighted to partner with them once again.”

Create Escape by Banksy. Credit: Jon Craig

Alongside Grayson and his wife Philippa, the contributing artists and celebrities include Alex Horne, Anneka Rice, Banksy, Boy George, Chila Kumari Burman-Singh, David Bailey, Derren Brown, Sir Frank Bowling, Holly Walsh, Jane Seymour, Johnny Vegas, Lianne La Havas, Lucy Sparrow, Mawaan Rizwan, Polly Morgan, Russell Tovey, Sue Perkins, Tom Allen and Yinka Ilori.

Jon Finch, Head of Culture and Creative Industries at Bristol City Council, said: “Grayson’s Art Club is a real dose of comfort after the last couple of years. A particular highlight for me is the portrait of Grayson by Becky Tyler who creates incredible artworks using eye-tracking software.

Conservator unboxing Synaptic Connections by Isabelle Ewing Credit: Bristol City Council

"I think visitors will enjoy hunting down the works throughout our permanent galleries. These interventions are sometimes amusing, often thought-provoking and encourage visitors to see the museum in a new light.

"Banksy was invited to contribute to the exhibition as an artist featured in the TV programme. We’re delighted that the Create Escape stencil will be on show to visitors to the museum.”

Triple Art Bypass by Lucy Sparrow. Credit: Bristol City Council

To accompany the exhibition, a special episode of Grayson’s Art Club will air on Channel 4 on Friday 10 December at 8pm.

In the programme, Grayson goes behind the scenes at the museum as he oversees the creation of the exhibition, and visits some of his best-loved contributors at home. He and Philippa then unveil the exhibition to some of the participating artists, members of the public and some of his famous Art Club guests, including Boy George and Johnny Vegas.

Shaminder Nahal, Commissioning Editor at Channel 4 added: “It’s been a thrill working with Bristol Museum & Art Gallery to bring the latest Grayson’s Art Club exhibition to the city with which we already have such strong ties.

"I can’t wait to see the artworks on display in the dramatic spaces, and nooks and corners, of this atmospheric and historic museum.

"I’m sure it will be a joyful and entertaining show, and a poignant and powerful record of the times we’ve been through together as a nation.”

Without Us There Is No Britain by Chila Kumari Burman-Singh. Credit: Bristol City Council

James Lee, Executive Dean of UWE Bristol’s Faculty of Arts, Creative Industries and Education, said: “As a university, we have forged close links with the city’s art and cultural institutions as part of our City Campus.

"This fascinating exhibition complements our strong presence in the heart of the city at the neighbouring Arnolfini, Watershed, and Spike Island."

Grayson’s Art Club opens on Saturday 4 December at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery and continues until 4 September 2022.