The Vanity of Small Differences.

Grayson Perry's The Vanity of Small Differences tells the story of class mobility and the influence social class has on our aesthetic taste. Inspired by William Hogarth's A Rake's Progress the six tapestries, measuring 2m x 4m each, chart the 'class journey' made by young Tim Rakewell and include many of the characters, incidents and objects Grayson Perry encountered on journeys through Sunderland, Tunbridge Wells and The Cotswolds for the television series 'All in the Best Possible Taste with Grayson Perry'.

The television programmes were first aired on Channel 4 in June 2012. In the series Perry goes on 'a safari amongst the taste tribes of Britain', to gather inspiration for his artwork, literally weaving the characters he meets into a narrative, with an attention to the minutiae of contemporary taste every bit as acute as that in Hogarth's 18th century paintings.

Grayson Perry is a great chronicler of contemporary life, drawing us in with wit, affecting sentiment and nostalgia as well as, at times, fear and anger. In his work, Perry tackles subjects that are universally human: identity, gender, social status, sexuality, religion. Autobiographical references – to the artist’s childhood, his family and his transvestism – 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.

 

Grayson Perry: The Vanity of Small Differences is at The Exchange, Penzance until 2 January 2021, before touring to Kilmarnock, Norwich, Rochdale and Hereford through to December 2021.

The 2020-21 Touring Exhibition is accompanied by a new educational film, introduced by Arts Council Collection Curator Beth Hughes and featuring commentary from the artist, which will be presented alongside the exhibition and can be viewed below.

 

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Build Your Own Sculptures

Arts Council Collection: The Vanity of Small Differences.

 

 

Build and design sculptures inspired by Grayson Perry's tapestries in your own learning environment. This is a useful reflection tool considering the exhibition, pieces, characters and learning from the space.

Create all six sculptures.

The paper sculpture resources are designed by Alex Josephine Gwynne

Related Content

2020-21 Touring Exhibition

Find out more about tour dates and venues for the current The Vanity of Small Differences touring exhibition, showing across the UK until late 2021.
Publication

Featuring essays by journalist Suzanne Moore and Grayson Perry, alongside extensive commentary on each of the tapestries and their making, this book is an essential companion to one of the key contemporary art works of the last decade.
Google Art & Culture

Explore the tapestries in extreme detail via Google Arts & Culture; a rich online resource that uses the latest digital imaging tools and technologies to make cultural organisations more widely accessible to a global audience.
Education Pack

Learn more about Grayson Perry and the creation of the tapestries in this education pack full of project ideas and activities.
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The Arts Council Collection is the UK's most widely seen collection of modern and contemporary art.

With more than 8,000 works by over 2,000 artists, it can be seen in exhibitions and public displays across the country and beyond. This website offers unprecedented access to the Collection, and information about each work can be found on this site.