Internationally renowned artist Grayson Perry hosted a raucous fundraising evening at his studio for the Contemporary Art Society, The Artist’s Table, on 10 March 2020 with CAS Silver Patron Chris Kneale. Attendees included Rebecca Salter, President of the Royal Academy; Martin Parr, photographer; Valeria Napoleone, Collector and Philanthropist; Claudia Fox Linton, Porsche-Piëch family; Sarah Elson; Lady Lupton; Oliver Miro; and Annabelle and Jeremy Scholar. Over £105,000 was raised, the most ever achieved at an Artist’s Table event, both through tickets and the sale of three unique platters created by Grayson Perry exclusively for his guests. All proceeds from this event directly benefit the charitable mission of the Contemporary Art Society, supporting museums across the UK by donating great works of art.
Guests were serenaded by Grayson, who also led a clay-modelling class for guests to create their own clay sculptures. After cocktails provided Kavka Vodka, the main course arrived in a clay pot which was broken open by Grayson and served with sauce in paint pots to brush the chicken. Later on in the evening, apples, port and biscuits were presented in a frame as an exact replica of Cézanne’s Still Life with Apples to accompany the cheese course. During his speech, co-host Chris Kneale, a former Director of the art handlers Martinspeed, “accidentally” knocked over one of Grayson’s vases from its plinth, to the horror of guests. Grayson, in on the joke, then smashed the damaged vase further with a hammer. Martin Parr was on hand throughout, taking photos in his unique style. At the end of the evening, each guest was presented with an apron and plate designed by Grayson and their clay sculptures will be fired by the artist and sent to their homes in the coming weeks.
Previous Artist’s Tables have been hosted by artists including Edmund de Waal, Antony Gormley, Isaac Julian, Michael Landy & Gillian Wearing, Haroon Mirza, Conrad Shawcross, Do Ho Suh and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye.
Grayson Perry (b. 1960, Chelmsford, UK) is best known for his ceramic vases and tapestries, as well as his observations of the contemporary art scene. In his work, Perry tackles subjects that are universally human: identity, gender, social status, sexuality, religion. There is a strong autobiographical element in his work – Perry as ‘Claire’, his female alter-ego and ‘Alan Measles’, his childhood teddy bear – and these autobiographical references can be read in tandem with questions about décor and decorum, class and taste, and the status of the artist versus that of the artisan. Perry uses the seductive qualities of ceramics and other art forms to make stealthy comments about society, its pleasures as well as its injustices and flaws, and to explore a variety of historical and contemporary themes.
Winner of the 2003 Turner Prize, Perry was elected a Royal Academician in 2012, and received a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in 2013; he has been awarded the appointments of Trustee of the British Museum and Chancellor of the University of the Arts London (both in 2015), and received a RIBA Honorary Fellowship in 2016. Perry’s work has been exhibited throughout the UK and internationally, with recent exhibitions including Victoria Miro (2019); Monnaie de Paris (2019); ARoS Aarhus Art Museum, Aarhus (2016); Bonnefantenmuseum, Maastricht (2016); Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney (2015 – 2016) and Turner Contemporary, Margate (2015). Perry is also a Bafta-winning TV presenter and bestselling author.
The Contemporary Art Society has acquired Perry’s artwork for The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent (1998 & 1999) and, in 2000, acquired Claire’s Coming Out Dress for Nottingham Castle Museum & Art Gallery.