Grayson Perry: The Most Popular Art Exhibition Ever! review – land of the brave and the twee

By Laura Cumming

Serpentine Gallery, London
The affable potter craftily manages to unite a divided Britain while keeping everything up in the air

“I’m off to buy a very serious piece of political art,” boasts the bubble on one of Grayson Perry’s new pots. Who’s speaking? Some idiot collector of course: the kind of plutocrat who needs an adviser to help him choose, who becomes a gallery trustee for the cachet, who buys art as a talking point for parties. The kind of fatcat who buys just such a pot.

It’s neat quip, of course, and the pot is covered in other gleeful one-liners – “I’ve read all the academic research about empathy”, “flat whites against racism”, “luxury brands for social justice”. But Perry is deep in this world himself. His pots are luxury brands, everything he makes is a talking point (often contrived from other people’s utterances, moreover). Communication is Perry’s business and his method. But what has he got to say?

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