Grayson Perry: The Most Popular Art Exhibition Ever! review – the court jester strikes again

By Adrian Searle

The jokes become laboured and the Brexit pots were better on TV. But the woodcuts in the Serpentine show have real oomph

“100% feel good factor,” says Adrian Searle of the Guardian, on one of Grayson Perry's new ceramic pots. Along with newspaper grunts like me, and others like New York critic Jerry Saltz (“Genius!” he exclaims), Perry also invents implausible praise from invariably serious critics like Rosalind Krauss and Linda Nochlin. “Wow,” exclaims the late John Berger. As if he would. Mildly amusing the first time round, the bulbous empty vessel of Perry's Puff Piece gets emptier by the second.

Another pot, Luxury Brands for Social Justice, has fanciful, extruded green swallows flying round the ceramic, with various slogans picked out in the glaze; “Flat whites against racism”… “Join our group of unique individuals”… “I'm off to buy a very serious piece of political art.” On and on it goes. The art world is always ripe for lampooning, its excesses frequently obscene; Perry, alert to its elitism and its manifold absurdities, is also complicit in the game, relishing his self-appointed role as court jester, irritant, resident snark and the lovely Claire, Grayson's female alter-ego.

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