Grayson Perry: 40-year career of Turner Prize winner to be celebrated in Edinburgh exhibition in 2023

Grayson Perry, the Turner Prize-winning artist and TV presenter, is to be celebrated in a major exhibition in Edinburgh charting a career spanning more than 40 years.

The National Galleries of Scotland will stage the biggest ever exhibition devoted to “one of Britain’s most celebrated artists and cultural figures”. The four month-long exhibition, which will open for Edinburgh’s summer festivals season, will explore Perry’s work across pottery, prints, sculptures and tapestries.

Perry’s exhibition is one of the highlights of the National Galleries’ 2023 programme, which will also include the largest showcase to date of work by the Barbadian-Scottish artist Alberta Whittle. The show for the Glasgow-based artist, who has lived in Scotland for almost all of her adult life, has just represented the country at the Venice Biennale, attracting more than 35,000 visitors.

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Her exhibition at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, which will run from April until January 2024, will explore Scotland's relationship with colonialism, the Transatlantic slave trade, “the structures of white supremacy” and the climate crisis.

The life and career of the artist Grayson Perry will be celebrated at the Royal Scottish Academy in 2023. Picture: Annar Bjørgli

Also confirmed is a solo exhibition for South Korean-born London-based artist Do Ho Suh, which will be staged at the modern art gallery next winter.

Work by Andy Warhol, William Blake, Rembrandt, Francisco de Goya, Elizabeth Blackadder, Paula Rego, Bridget Riley and Pablo Picasso will be showcased in a major printmaking exhibition due to open at the Royal Scottish Academy next December.

An announcement on the Grayson Perry exhibition, which will run from July 22 until November 12, states: “Perry has gone from taking pottery evening classes to winning the Turner Prize, presenting television programmes on Channel 4 and writing acclaimed books.

"Pottery allowed him the opportunity to indulge his fascination with sex, punk and counterculture, amongst other things, in the most unlikely and polite of art forms. Today he is one of Britain’s most celebrated artists and cultural figures. Popular and provocative, Perry makes art that deals with difficult and complex ideas in an accessible and often funny way.

Our Town by artist Grayson Perry, who will be celebrated at the Royal Scottish Academy in Edinburgh in 2023.

“He loves taking on big issues that are universally human – masculinity, sexuality, class, religion, politics and more. On view will be subversive pots, brilliantly intricate prints, elaborate sculptures and huge, captivating tapestries – all imbued with Perry’s sharp wit and social commentary.”

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The National Galleries said the Alberta Whittle exhibition would reflect the artist's generous spirit, which promotes compassion and collective care as means of resisting racism and anti-Blackness.

A statement added: “Through richly symbolic artworks, she pulls apart the belief that ’racism and police brutality is [just] an English/Scottish problem or an American problem’. Instead, she underlines Scotland’s complicity in the structures of white supremacy.

"Often deeply personal, weaving stories of family and belonging, Alberta ultimately offers a message of hope, asking us to imagine a world outside of these damaging systems and ways of thinking.”

C is for Colonial Fantasy by Alberta Whittle, whose work will be celebrated by the National Galleries of Scotland in a major exhibition next year.
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Sir John Leighton, director general of the National Galleries, said: “There’s so much to look forward to across our galleries next year. From connecting with Grayson Perry’s craftsmanship up close to slowing down with Alberta Whittle to experience compassion and care, there’s something for everyone to discover. Everyone is invited to our galleries to learn, find a moment of calm or feel inspired.”

Sponsored by You by artist Grayson Perry, who will be celebrated at the Royal Scottish Academy in Edinburgh in 2023. Picture: Jack Hems
Alberta Whittle's work will be showcased by the National Galleries of Scotland in a major exhibition next year. Picture: Jaryd Niles-Morris
The Upper Classes by artist Grayson Perry, who will be celebrated at the Royal Scottish Academy in Edinburgh in 2023. Picture: Annar Bjørgli