This weekend marks the last chance for those checking into luxury London hotels to catch one of the most talked-about art exhibitions of the last 12 months.
Grayson Perry’s residency at the British Hotel comes to an end this Sunday, 26th February, and many will be flocking to catch a last glimpse of the contemporary collection.
Perry’s Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman exhibit sees the artist bring together pieces from the British Museum’s vault and his own contemporary work – including his own iconic teddy bear Alan Measles, enshrined in a motorbike – for a chronologically and socially diverse collection.
The Turner Prize-winning artist is known primarily for his use of ceramic vases to comment on modern life, and here they share a billing with such treasures as Malian figurines, sailing charts from the Pacific’s Marshall Islands and a 16th Century Rhineland jug, each hand-picked from the British Museum’s vaults and with an incisive commentary from the artist.
“Part of my role as an artist is similar to that of a shaman or witch doctor,” writes Perry in the exhibition catalogue, and themes of craftsmanship, magick, shrines and pilgrimage litter the collection. Members can see the exhibition for free, while same-day tickets will be available from 9am.
Perry’s work also features in the Government Art Collection on display at the Whitechapel Gallery, also closing this weekend. Curated by broadcaster and historian Simon Schama, the collection features pieces from the 13,500-strong Government Art Collection, pieces more often displayed at meeting venues in central London including embassies and government buildings.
Highlights include Perry’s Map of an Englishman, an illustration of an imaginary brain-shaped island, alongside an 1814 portrait of Byron and Yinka Shonabare’s Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle, a model for the recently retired work featured on Trafalgar Square’s Fourth Plinth.