Tate Modern Talk

What makes an artist? Grayson Perry in conversation with Sarah Thornton

Grayson Perry The Rosetta Vase 2011

Isaac Julien Vagabondia 2000, video still

Jeff Koons, ‘Bourgeois Bust - Jeff and Ilona’ 1991
Jeff Koons
Bourgeois Bust - Jeff and Ilona 1991
ARTIST ROOMS Tate and National Galleries of Scotland
© Jeff Koons

Andrea Fraser Still from Projection 2008

Ai Weiwei 'Sunflower Seeds' 2010

Who do artists think they are? What myths are they rejecting and propagating? What is the social role of artists in different countries around the world today? How do artists negotiate power? Self-belief? Recognition?

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Grayson Perry | Think Like an Artist | TateShots

Join author Sarah Thornton and artist Grayson Perry for a discussion of how artists self-define and play the art-world game with particular attention to politics, kinship and craft, the three themes that structure Thornton’s forthcoming book, 33 Artists in 3 Acts.

Thornton gained unprecedented access to major international artists, such as Ai Weiwei, Jeff Koons, Cindy Sherman, Marina Abramović, Francis Alÿs, Gabriel Orozco, Andrea Fraser, Christian Marclay and Isaac Julien to Damien Hirst and Grayson Perry himself. During the course of her five years of research, she investigated issues of credibility and self-belief, exploring the relationship between the artists’ everyday lives and art practices. Challenging preconceptions and unpicking the complex layers that form his identity, Perry offers insight into the influences and networks that feed into the development and production of his work.

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Winner of the 2003 Turner Prize, Grayson Perry works with conventional media such as ceramics, cast iron, bronze, printmaking and tapestry in unconventional ways. His works often refer to his childhood and adult life as a transvestite as well as wider social issues such as class, sex and religion. Perry has had many solo exhibitions, including the critically acclaimed Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman at the British Museum in 2011. His Channel 4 television series In the Best Possible Taste won a BAFTA award in 2013. Perry’s Playing to the Gallery: Helping Contemporary Art in its Struggle to be Understood, a book loosely based on his Reith Lectures, is published by Penguin in September.

Sarah Thornton is the author of Seven Days in the Art World, an international bestseller, available in sixteen foreign languages. Thornton was the chief writer on contemporary art for The Economist and has contributed to many publications, television programmes and radio broadcasts. She is also the author of Club Cultures: Music, Media and Subcultural Capital and the co-editor of the first edition of the Subcultures Reader. Thornton holds a BA in Art History and a PhD in the Sociology of Culture. Since the summer of 2009, she has been investigating the question: what is an artist?

In partnership with Granta books

Tate Modern

Starr Cinema

London SE1 9TG
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Date & Time

2 October 2014 at 18.30–20.00

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