Grayson Perry has been confirmed as the speaker for the 2013 Reith Lectures, the BBC’s annual thought piece from leading figures to discuss in detail the topics that they are most associated with. The lectures, entitled Grayson Perry: Playing to the Gallery, will give the Turner Prize winning artist the opportunity to discuss at length the contemporary state of modern art and all that entails.
The Reith Lectures have been an annual tradition for the BBC since they began in 1948 in honour of their first ever director general, Sir John Reith, and his contribution to broadcasting. It was taken by philosopher, mathematician and political activist, Bertrand Russell, who’s series of lectures were entitled, Authority and the Individual, where he discusses personal freedom and the role of authority in society.
Perry’s lectures will be broadcast in October and November later this year on BBC Radio 4 with first being recorded at London’s Tate Modern. The subsequent lectures will be held in St George’s Hall in Liverpool, The Guildhall in Londonderry and Central Saint Martins in London. Tickets to watch any of these will soon be released on the BBC Tickets page.
The 4 lectures in the 2013 series have an overarching theme regarding the state of art in the 21st Century. In the first of these Perry will be looking back on his own experiences as an artist to investigate artistic integrity when notoriety takes hold during a career. In the announcement interview he explains, “I feel now is a good time to reflect on the idea of quality and how we might, in an age where we are told anything can be art, appreciate which art is any good”.
He will then follow it up with a lecture on the ins and outs of the art industry as a market as well as elaborating on how modern art is received in the press, by the public and within the art world itself. Perry wants to examine the words and money that are intrinsically linked to modern art through the air time that the Reith Lectures provides.
Grayson Perry’s most recent exhibition was a stunning combination of his own pottery, tapestries and sculptures with relics from The British Museum’s archives. Called The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman it showed the blurred boundaries between the past modes of production and modern art creation.
Other recent Reith lecturers have included former Burma political prisoner, Aung San Suu Kyi with Securing Freedom in 2011, and cosmologist and astrophysicist Martin Rees’ Scientific Horizons in 2011.