During lockdown, it was our local galleries and independent businesses who took one of the hardest hits for sure.
City-wide venue closures came in thick and fast and I was devastated to see that many exhibitions at Manchester galleries had to pack up early, leaving many emerging artists cut short of the chance to sell their work and gain exposure.
During lockdown, artist Grayson Perry received thousands of submissions to his popular Channel 4 TV series; Grayson’s Art Club, which will be exhibited in Manchester Art Gallery from Wednesday 25th November!
Each piece on display was created in lockdown and act as visual representations of each artist’s thoughts, feelings and emotions at the time.
Each creating their own unique visual representation of lockdown; members of the public, well-known artists and even celebrities contributed to Grayson’s Art Club (including Noel Fielding, Harry Hill, Vic Reeves, Antony Gormley, Jeremy Deller and so, so many more!)
Highlighting the changing moods of Britain during our very strange isolation period, the unusual moment in history was captured through art with Grayson’s Art Club, providing a unique record of the thoughts and feelings of a nation during a global pandemic right here in the heart of Manchester.
It’s no secret that many of us turned to new artistic hobbies at a time when most of our habits were out of bounds. Whether it was painting, sculpture, literature or music, art played a MASSIVE part in getting us through for sure.
Please join my Art Club. I’m inviting the nation to my studio. I’ll be showing you what I’m up to, talking to other artists and I want you to send me images of what you are making #C4ArtClub@Channel4 here is where you can upload your art
— Grayson Perry (@Alan_Measles) April 2, 2020
With his mission set out to bring the nation together through art, Grayson helped individuals to unleash their collective creativity as part of his TV series for Channel 4, which joined his roster of existing programmes for the network.
Every week Grayson hosted the show from his own studio and allowed us into his wacky world as he created his own new artworks.
Grayson and his wife Philippa talked to other famous artists and creatives about how they were spending their time in isolation and invited them to make their own works in response to this unprecedented crisis (with a different theme explored each week, including portraits, the view from my window, my home and loads more).
Grayson also asked members of the public to send in their own artworks which they had been making at home during this strange time, receiving over 10,000 entries.
Highlighting the creativity of the nation, the entries were completely varied and included using canvas, paper, photography, sculpture and mixed media.
Like many of us, the artists involved sought solace in creating and expressing themselves through different mediums.
With humour, pathos and imagination, the entries truly encapsulated life under lockdown. Each entry and artwork was vastly unique; from world-famous artists to first paintings since primary school: the show was open to all.
Bringing life and soul back into our city and standing for all the right things, this exhibition will help Manchester Art Gallery rebuild itself after the devastation caused for independent galleries and businesses during the pandemic.
Support our art scene and head over this November, it’s free after all!
What: Grayson’s Art Club
Where: Manchester Art Gallery
When: Wednesday 25 November 2020 – Sunday 18 April 2021
Entry by advance booking only. Tickets will be available to book online nearer the opening date.