2008 - Unpopular Culture

Unpopular Culture: Grayson Perry selects from the Arts Council Collection

Grayson Perry's selection from the Arts Council Collection featured figurative painting, bronze sculpture and documentary photography from the post-war period until c.1980. As the artist explained, 'Unpopular Culture stems from a notion that, in Britain during the period represented by this show, stories about art did not feature daily in the broadsheets nor did contemporary artists crop up frequently in gossip columns. A time when modern art did not attract crowds and was seen as a more rarefied activity, practised and appreciated by bohemians and intellectuals. The exhibition also refers to a feeling that many artists then made art that could be characterised as subtle, sensitive, lyrical and quiet in contrast to today when much art can seem like shouty advertisements for concepts or personalities. As a group, for me, these works conjure a nostalgic picture of a post-war, pre-Thatcherite Britain, more reflective, more civic and more humane.'

Perry's subtle and insightful assessment of post-war British art is augmented with two new works that he has made in direct response to the Arts Council Collection and the themes raised by the exhibition.


Tour details

De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill on Sea (10 May - 6 Jul 2008)

Harris Museum, Preston (19 Jul - 14 Sep 2008)

Royal Museum and Art Gallery, Canterbury (27 Sep - 8 Nov 2008)

DLI Museum & Durham Art Gallery, Durham (29 Nov 2008 - 4 Jan 2009)

Southampton City Art Gallery, Southampton (16 Jan - 15 Mar 2009)

Aberystwyth Arts Centre, Aberystwyth (21 Mar - 10 May 2009)

Scarborough Art Gallery, Scarborough (16 May - 5 Jul 2009)

Longside Gallery, Wakefield (18 Jul - 25 Oct 2009)

Victoria Art Gallery, Bath (7 Nov 2009 - 3 Jan 2010)

Mead Gallery, Coventry (23 Jan - 13 Mar 2010)




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.