NEWS: Grayson Perry – The Vanity of Small Differences @ Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: Grayson Perry, The Agony in the Car Park, 2012, Wool, cotton, acrylic, polyester and silk tapestry, Edition of 6 + 2 AP, 200 x 400cm. © the artist. Gift of the artist and Victoria Miro Gallery with the support of Channel 4 Television, the Art Fund and Sfumato Foundation with additional support from AlixPartners

Yep – they’re back. Grayson Perry’s seminal artwork on class progression has been especially loved by us in the North East thanks to the tapestries’ origins in Wearside. Perry’s 2012 documentary All In The Best Possible Taste featured the artist visiting various regions across the UK to investigate social stratification. His experiences amongst the working class of Sunderland, alongside those of the upper and middle classes, informed The Vanity of Small Differences: these vivid tapestries depict a modern retelling of William Hogarth’s A Rake’s Progress, an already timeless tale of frivolity and excess leading to personal ruin.

Grayson Perry has long since used his work to unpick Britain’s more uncomfortable aspects, be it our inescapable class system that leaves so many behind, or a rigid obsession with categories within categories to continuously ‘other’ anyone in need. These concepts are further explored in a newer piece which joins Vanity, another tapestry celebrating all efforts to undo the country’s endemic prejudices. Comfort Blanket represents any warmth shown to those in crisis, and reminds us that, for all this country’s faults, it’s worth fighting to make it the best it can be for those who call or will come to call Britain home.

Grayson Perry’s Vanity of Small Differences is at Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens from Saturday 9th April to Sunday 5th June.

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