Grayson Perry Wherever We Look – Art, Art, Art – then Mozart Balls

International Furred Greatnesses about to Enter Frieze Art Fair, LondonInternational Furred Greatnesses about to Enter Frieze Art Fair, London
Grayson Perry at Frieze Art Fair

Grayson Perry at Frieze Art Fair

Friday 16th October 2009

I’m just back from Brent Cross.  It’s a shopping mall, on London’s outskirts, only about ten miles from my home,  thought by some to be the worst place on earth. But there’s a Zara there and I’m looking for those brown waxed jeans. You remember? STILL NO SIZE 34. Tomorrow I must cover all the west London branches.

Barely home, and Lord Arrowby texts from the Frieze Art Fair in Regents Park: Grayson Perry spotted – if you can say ‘spotted’ of a man in blonde wig dressed in self-made ‘art’ costume as girl kiddie/doll out of an old-fashioned picture book.

So that’s Grayson Perry for the third time this week.  On Tuesday, as you know, the photographer Multi and I were at Trenton’s gallery (he’s the one with the rock-hard, gorgeous bust) for the Walthamstow Tapestry. This is an artwork actually made by Grayson Perry. He doesn’t just dress up, you see (I’m thinking if you’re in foreign or US, you might never have heard of GP.  Here, he’s huge. I can’t explain the cross-dressing. He has a wife. It’s part of the art but he’s an authentic cross-dresser. He’s exposing himself).  At Trenton’s he was in a felt frock; I’ve a vague idea garments of this kind are worn in the Gobi Desert. Then on Wednesday the photographer Multi and I go to the Frieze Art Fair (very grand, contemp. art, galleries from Seoul, New York, Berlin, Madrid, Milan etc showing: basic price £10,000) and there he is again – Bo-peep straw bonnet and silk knickbockers with white knees – I mean his actual skin.

How does that man get anything done!

I couldn’t quite grasp the Walthamstow Tapestry. It’s very long and narrow,  like the Bayeux, pictorial, lovely colours, all about brands and journey of life through them. Not quite sure why Nokia represented with little picture of gypsy caravan. Perhaps not supposed to ask. The main thing at this function was a young German man in a very interesting cardy. The photographer Multi very bold in approaching, with camera ready. Turned out to be from Top Shop. Never been there but next day rushed in at Oxford Circus (that’s in London’s heart).  Utterly thrilling. Acres of little tiny dolly clothes, just like I’ve been wearing. They’re calling it the ‘skinny’ line. You must have it. They’re copying me. I bought a Prep School blazer for £80.It is blue with white edging. I will photograph it tomorrow for you. So come back. I didn’t buy the cardy though. Not cheap enough.

I could be arrested in the prep school blazer.

But I digress. Art, art, art. The Multis and the whole of London, especially the top gays,  have built their week around it. It’s this Frieze Art Fair; even you could go. It’s on until Sunday. Grandeur from all over the world is piling in to view and buy. All exhibitions in London galleries generally are swamped with international greatnesses trimmed with fur who come nibbling round before wrenching open their jaws and snapping up.

The Multis took  command, took the week by the scruff of the neck, launched it, even for those not there, with a lunch at La Pont de la Tour on Sunday for some of the most important artists of the day – Chantal Joffe, Anna Barribel, Dan Coombs, Goshka Macuga, Danny Rolph, Mark Wallinger – to meet gallery owners from Palm Springs and Los Angeles. Elsa Hodgeman, the Gertrude Stein of our times, was present.

We’ve not stopped whirring ever since. From Trenton’s on Tuesday we went straight to Bloomberg’s for Stuart Cumberland’s second Private View (too complicated to explain). He is an artist. Superb canapes. No need to have dinner afterwards. Then on Wednesday to Frieze  – private view day, only very rich and those who had got hold of  tickets on non-paying basis admitted. At Frieze, I liked best a picture by Kusama which Trenton (now on his stand at the fair) said was $200,000.   Lord Arrowby, who has just phoned from the fair, as well as texting, says he’ll buy it for me.

We shall see. It would be rather encouraging if he did, wouldn’t it?

But Kusama really is something.

So art – you must have it. Especially if you are straight and want to be a Poor Little Rich Gay, you haven’t a hope unless you’ve got a collection. Get the children out of those expensive, dreary schools and buy, buy, buy.  Even if you only manage to set aside £15000 a year, it’ll be a start. The Multis spend about that a month.  Lord Arrowby, Robert Nevil and Sebastian Archer, Rufus Pitman, Marcus Cargill, England’s leading clock restorer, Anthony Mottram,  Bruce McBain (although recently he has gone in for glass jars) all snap up regularly. Smallmeal’s Bentley has occasionally been seen outside galleries for a short time (he has a busy schedule), with the result that he has one good picture. Only Fergus Strachan and Angus Willis  – now where is their art collection exactly?

I was just a little nervous that Limpney might suddenly materialise at Frieze. It must have been the association with art. There was  an unfortunate episode in a gallery back in March which I’ll tell you about one day.

Oh lord!  I haven’t left enough time for Anthony Mottram and the Mozart Balls.  It will have to wait until tomorrow.

Grayson Perry before his Walthamstow Tapestry: photo by Multi

Grayson Perry before his Walthamstow Tapestry: photo by Multi

Penises and Painting by Yayoi Kusama - Painting liked by me: $200,000: photo by Multi

Penises and Painting by Yayoi Kusama - Painting liked by me: $200,000: photo by Multi

Outstanding Cardy from Topshop seen at Trenton's Gallery: photo by Multi

Outstanding Cardy from Topshop seen at Trenton's Gallery: photo by Multi

The Multis' lunch at La Pont for the Greatest Living Artists - apres: photo by Multi

The Multis' lunch at La Pont for the Greatest Living Artists - apres: photo by Multi

Posted Friday, October 16, 2009 under Adrian Edge day by day.


  1. Thin White Duchess says:

    It’s impossible to move without seeing them everywhere. This evening at the new Hix on Brewer Street, with Damien Hirst mobiles hanging everywhere, Tracey Emin and Sarah Lucas in the downstairs bar drinking. It’s almost as bad as London fashion week.

  2. Tony Kane says:

    There used to be gay artists – we need them back, the art world is too straight. Was Kusama gay? I like Tagame. We need more like him.

  3. Robert Nevil says:

    Why is Grayson Perry depicted sideways? I have crick in the neck from inspecting the tapestry of my old haunts (Walthamstow: REALLY poor in those days).
    Even sideways and in a ridiculous bonnet, he looks better that those two befurred Frieze harpies. There are, it is said,only so many ways to skin a cat, and they have evidently been putting this to the test.
    How fascinating that Art Lunches are now given in wine cellars. Was there no room in the restaurant itself – or do the Multis get a special dungeon discount rate?

  4. admin says:

    Have got Grayson straight now!

  5. louis barrowby says:


  6. Yes, I know she is female. Did anyone suggest that good art is sexually based? It’s more a question of who is going to buy it? As you say, it’s the darlings!

  7. louis barrowby says:

    Toby Kane above was making sexually based comments about artists

  8. admin says:

    Dear Louis Barrowby – I see! How slow of me.

  9. Nicholas Taudevin says:

    Interesting thought from Toby Kane, though. The louche “School of London” period was full of gay artists – some of them tormented, some rather jolly. The more cynical “YBA” period seems to be much less gay. Don’t suppose it matters much.

  10. louis barrowby says:

    Surely you should be judging art work by what the art does for you? Does the identity of the artist really matter? Is that your point Nick?

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