York Art Gallery

Major new exhibition – 28 May – 5 September 2021

Adults £10, Concessions Available
Book your tickets here

The touring exhibition, developed by the Holburne Museum in Bath, is the first to celebrate Grayson Perry’s earliest forays into the art world and re-introduces the explosive and creative works he made between 1982 and 1994.

The remarkable 70 works included in the exhibition have been crowd-sourced following a national public appeal. These ‘lost’ pots are on display together for the first time since they were made.

The exhibition shines a light on Perry’s experimentation and exploration of the potential of pottery to address radical issues and human stories. For art lovers, Grayson Perry: The Pre-Therapy Years represents a unique opportunity to enjoy the artist’s clever, playful and politically-engaged perspective on the world through a number of pieces, many of which have not been seen in public since they were first exhibited. Often challenging and explicit, these works reveal the early development of Perry’s distinctive voice that has established him as one of the most compelling commentators on contemporary society.

Grayson Perry: The Pre-Therapy Years begins in 1982, when Perry was first working as an artist and then charts his progress to the mid-90s, when he became established in the mainstream London art scene. The exhibition provides a snapshot of a very British time and place, and reveals the transition of Grayson’s style from playful riffs on historic art, such as old Staffordshire pottery, along with crowns (the mixed-media Crown of Penii, 1982) and thrones (Saint Diana, let them eat shit, 1984 – inspired by his fascination with Princess Diana) into a style that is patently his own: plates and vases rich with detail that tell tales of our times and experiences, such as 1989’s Cocktail Party.

Much of the iconography of Perry’s output has an angry, post-punk, deeply ironic leaning, combining cosy imagery with shocking sexual or political content.

Many of the works displayed in the Pre-Therapy Years tell a very personal story, particularly in the evolution of Claire, who first appeared in the early 80’s inspired by such powerful women as television newsreaders and Princess Diana, rather than the exuberant child-like figure Perry created after her ‘coming out’ party in 2000.

Caution: this exhibition includes images of sex and violence
Exhibition organised by the Holburne Museum, Bath