July 14, 2009 - Arts Council Collection - Unpopular Culture
July 14, 2009

Unpopular Culture

Grayson Perry by Eric Great-Rex
© the artist 2009

Unpopular Culture and Nostalgia for the Bad Times
Grayson Perry selects from the Arts Council Collection and the BFI National Archive

18 July – 25 October 2009

Longside Gallery
Yorkshire Sculpture Park

West Bretton
Wakefield WF4 4LG
Tel: 01924 832631


An Arts Council Collection Exhibition from Southbank Centre
Longside Gallery, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield

Provocative as ever, Turner prize winner Grayson Perry hopes for gloomy summer weather to enhance the subject matter in his upcoming exhibition Unpopular Culture, which will open at Longside Gallery, Yorkshire Sculpture Park from 18 July 2009. To complement this, Perry has selected a new programme of rarely seen films from the BFI National Archive that will screen alongside the exhibition, for the first and only time. The selection, called Nostalgia for the Bad Times, references a bygone age of good manners, afternoon tea, seaside holidays and coal fires.

Grayson Perry was catapulted into the public consciousness in 2003 when he won the Turner Prize for his delicate coil pots adorned with drawings and text suggesting a range of subject matter. Perhaps less well-known is Perry’s work as a curator. Unpopular Culture highlights this aspect of Perry’s practice and offers his personal view of the Arts Council Collection: one of the foremost national collections of British post-war art, with over 7,500 works. The show includes works by; Kenneth Armitage; Frank Auerbach; Ian Berry; Anthony Caro; Lynn Chadwick; Barbara Hepworth; L.S. Lowry; Henry Moore, Paul Nash; Eduardo Paolozzi; Martin Parr; Tony Ray-Jones and Homer Sykes as well as two striking new works by Perry himself.

Unpopular Culture examines a period in history which Perry argues was ‘before British Art became fashionable.’ The exhibition of more than 70 works by 50 artists encompasses a variety of media, figurative painting, bronze sculpture and documentary photography. Spanning the era from the 1940s to Thatcherite Britain of the 1980s, the selection epitomises a time when we as a nation had a different sense of self, one less defined by interventions of television, mass media and digital communications.

Perry’s selection for Nostalgia for the Bad Times adds a new layer to the concept of national identity and personal narrative evident throughout the exhibition. Themes explored include war time propaganda in Springtime in an English Village (1944); a Margate funfair is the subject of an experimental documentary made by British film, theatre and documentary director Lindsay Anderson in O Dreamland (1953); and an advert for Maypole Tea emphasising that noble English past time of afternoon tea, By the Fireside (1945).

Unsurprisingly for an artist who has always positioned himself at the margins of the art world, Perry has found himself drawn to art that embodies a quiet nostalgia and restraint. Unpopular Culture and Nostalgia for the Bad Times present an alternative view of British art, bringing a fresh, new perspective on this period.


Grayson Perry
Artist Talk
Saturday 18 July, 2pm
Auditorium, Yorkshire Sculpture Park
Tickets on sale from Monday 6 July, booking line: 01924 832582

Exhibition tours:
Every day at 2pm, free

Watercolour Workshop
With artist Patricia Jones
Saturday 15 August, 10.30 – 3.30pm
Saturday 19 September, 10.30 – 3.30pm
To book a place please call 01924 830900 or email sculpture@southbankcentre.co.uk

Unpopular Culture is accompanied by a catalogue that includes commissioned essays by Grayson Perry and Blake Morrison. ISBN: 978-1-85332-267-9

For the exhibition, Grayson Perry has designed a limited edition silk scarf which will be available to buy at Longside Gallery and YSP Visitor Centre Shop.

Longside Gallery
Yorkshire Sculpture Park
West Bretton
Wakefield WF4 4LG
Tel: 01924 832631
Opening Hours:
11am – 4pm daily
Free admission
Longside Gallery is closed between exhibitions


Tour continues:
For more information about upcoming venues for this exhibition please check: www.southbankcentre.co.uk/visual-arts/hayward-touring/current

To find out more about the Arts Council Collection visit www.artscouncilcollection.org.uk

Arts Council Collection

Arts Council Collection
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