Grayson’s Art Club exhibition to open, featuring David Shrigley, Noel Fielding, The Singh Twins, Harry Hill and more

Opening at Manchester Art Gallery next month, the show will include artworks made by the public, well-known artists and comedians as visual representations of lockdown, as featured on the popular Channel 4 show.

15 October 2020

Manchester Art Gallery has nabbed one of the most coveted and populist art collections of this year, the results of Channel 4 show Grayson’s Art Club. The TV show hosted by Grayson Perry in his home studio explored the experience of lockdown through art and asked guests, from well-known artists such as Jeremy Deller and comedians including Joe Lycett, to members of the public, to produce visual representations in response to themes. Throughout the six-part series, Perry said he would collect and curate an exhibition of the works featured, as well as making his own artistic contribution. That show is now about to become a reality, due to open 25 November 2020 – 18 April 2021, and Channel 4 has said a special episode of Art Club will air around the same time.

The episodes covered topics such as portraits, animals, fantasy, home, ‘the view from my window’ and national spirit, each time interviewing guests via video call about the theme, their creative process, and how art was helping them through the crisis. We were treated to fascinating insights and sneaky peeks inside the studios of Antony Gormley, Chantal Joffe, Maggi Hambling, Jeremy Deller, David Shrigley, The Singh Twins and Martin Parr; and much-needed comic relief from Joe Lycett, Harry Hill, Jessica Hynes, Noel Fielding, Jim Moir / Vic Reeves, Jenny Eclair and Liza Tarbuck. There were some genuine moments of brilliance in Lycett’s portrait of Chris Whitty, for example, and Hill’s sculpture of a dog from a log.

Perhaps some of the most poignant takeaways, though, came from members of the public, whose work was selected from a whopping 10,000 submissions. This exhibition will be a great leveller with all pieces appearing alongside each other as per theme, including pieces by Grayson Perry and his wife, psychotherapist Philippa Perry, who appeared regularly in the show.

Grayson Perry said in a statement: “I could not be happier with Manchester Art Gallery, the venue for the Art Club exhibition; it will be in a people’s palace of culture. All the artists who appeared on our TV series put in a lot of skill, thought and feeling into their works and I am so proud that they will get the opportunity to see their art hanging in this grand, nearly 200 year old institution.

“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’s Art Club opens 25 November 2020 – 18 April 2021 at Manchester Art Gallery, supported by Channel 4 and Swan Films.

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Grayson's Art Club (© Channel 4 and Swan Films, 2020)

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Jenny Brewer

Jenny oversees our editorial output across work, news and features. She was previously It’s Nice That's news editor. Get in touch with any big creative stories, tips, pitches, news and opinions, or questions about all things editorial.

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