During lockdown, Grayson Perry, one of Britain’s foremost artists, brought the nation together through art, helping them to unleash their creativity as part of his Channel 4 TV series. Every week he hosted the show from his own studio – taking the country with him as he created his own new art works. Grayson and his wife Philippa talked to other famous artists and creatives about how they were spending their time in isolation and invited them to make their own works in response to this unprecedented crisis. Each week a different theme – portraits, animals, fantasy, view from my window, home, Britain – was explored.
A key element of the series was Grayson asking members of the public to send him their own artworks which they had been making at home, talking to them via video calls and choosing his favourite artworks. He received nearly 10,000 entries, an overwhelming response to his call out. The variety of entries – using canvas, paper, photography, sculpture and mixed media – showed the imagination, skill and creativity of the nation. These works, alongside those of Grayson Perry, Philippa Perry and the invited artists and celebrities, are collected here to catalogue the exhibition at Manchester Art Gallery.
From its inception Art Club was about the benefits of making art that are open to all. In the true spirit of the series we will be exhibiting the works grouped not by hierarchy of fame or value but grouped in themes. Each artwork will hang amongst others that talk of the shared experiences we have lived through during this extraordinary time of the Covid crisis. This show is a crystallisation of the feelings and obsessions of artists from all over the country whether it is their first painting since primary school or they are world famous.
This will be a show about the joy and solace of making art. It will also be a still moment to reflect on a situation that has affected everyone on the planet.” Grayson Perry