Grayson Perry Attracts Record Visitors At National Portrait Gallery Exhibition

Artist Grayson Perry’s exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery has attracted record visitors. A quarter of a million people came to see new works in a free display. In total, 850,000 visitors to the National Portrait Gallery are thought to have seen at least one new work by the artist as part of a gallery-wide display and trail, it was announced, Monday 16 March 2015.
The new portraits were created during the making of his Channel 4 series Grayson Perry: Who Are You? which started broadcasting on Wednesday 22 October.
Starting close to the entrance in the Gallery’s Main Hall and then interspersed throughout the nineteenth and twentieth century Collections, the free display and trail, focused on the theme of identity, and opened on 23 October 2014.
It is the most viewed temporary display in the Gallery’s history but was part of a popular autumn season which also included the free displays The Real Tudors and Snowdon: ALife in View together with the exhibitions Anarchy and Beauty: William Morris and His Legacy and Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2014.
The success contributed to the 2,062,502 total visitor figure for 2014 just announced by Association of Leading Visitor Attractions, the Gallery’s second best year, and its third consecutive year with over two million visitors.
Ms Pim Baxter, Acting Director, National Portrait Gallery, London, says: ‘Grayson’s display had a considerable impact on the Gallery. It was clear from the number of visitors that thousands of people were enjoying his work on a daily basis, and that the display drew them to parts of the Gallery that they might not otherwise have explored.’
Winner of the 2003 Turner prize, Grayson Perry is one of Britain’s best-known contemporary artists. He works with traditional media; ceramics, cast iron, bronze, printmaking and tapestry and is interested in how each historic category of object accrues over time’s intellectual and emotional baggage. Grayson Perry is a great chronicler of contemporary life, drawing viewers in with beauty, wit, affecting sentiment and nostalgia as well as fear and anger. His hard-hitting and exquisitely crafted works reference his own childhood and life as a transvestite while also engaging with wider social issues from class and politics to sex and religion.
Grayson Perry has had major solo exhibitions nationally and internationally including the critically acclaimed Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman at the British Museum. His monumental suite of tapestries The Vanity of Small Differences, which were inspired by his BAFTA winning Channel 4 series: In the Best Possible Taste, are currently on a national and international tour led by the Arts Council Collection and British Council. In June 2013 he was awarded a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List. Grayson Perry is represented by Victoria Miro Gallery, London.