Six stunning tapestries by cross-dressing artist Grayson Perry exploring taste and class in modern Britain are heading to the north west.
The Turner Prize winning artist’s epic tale of human nature and social constructs will be in a new exhibition at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool this summer.
The Vanity of Small Differences goes on display from the evening of May 16 to August 10.
Perry designed the tapestries as part of a series he made with Channel 4 in 2012, called All in the Best Possible Taste.
In the television series Perry went: “on a safari amongst the taste tribes of Britain”, investigating the tastes of the working class in Sunderland, middle class in Tunbridge Wells and upper class in the Cotswolds.
The fascinating observations Perry made on his journey provide a compelling, snap-shot of modern Britain. Middle class angst, ‘old money’ snobbery and a community shattered by job losses and industrial decline.
Ordinary objects from a football kit, celebrity chef cookbook and a Cath Kidston shopping bag, take on new symbolism and provide a rich visual language.
Perry also examines the idea of social mobility between the classes.
The tapestries are a modern evocation of A Rake’s Progress, the series of paintings by 18th century artist William Hogarth.
Like Hogarth’s character, Tom Rakewell, Perry’s fictional hero, Tim Rakewell, comes from working class origins, marries into the middle class, makes enough money to buy himself an upper class lifestyle and then dies a tragic death.
Curator of Costume and Textiles, Pauline Rushton said: “Their extraordinary detail, colour and texture are captivating.
“Traditionally tapestries would tell stories or evoke historic events.
“Grayson’s tapestries are just as epic, packed with notions of society, symbolism and references to art history, religion and literature.”
Director of Art Galleries Sandra Penketh said: “We are very excited to be showing these incredible tapestries.
“Grayson’s fascination in the subtle rules society is governed by is accompanied by a keen eye for detail and a wonderful sense of humour.
“The Walker’s own rich collection of medieval and Renaissance art, as well as our commitment to show the very best contemporary art, make it the perfect venue for the tapestries. We’re grateful to our partners for helping us bring this important artwork by an international artist to Liverpool.”
The Walker Art Gallery is the third venue outside London to be showing Grayson Perry’s The Vanity of Small Differences.
Jill Constantine, Acting Head, Arts Council Collection said: “The Vanity of Small Difference has attracted huge public interest and we’re delighted that the people of Liverpool will now have the opportunity to see these extraordinary tapestries for themselves”.