I too have been listening (see Colin's more erudite editorial of 4th Nov. 2013) to the Reith Lectures ... maybe I was not listening well. I enjoyed the first one, Grayson Perry is entertaining even when I think some of his points are not very well made, or just contradictory enough that I can't pin him down. Maybe that influenced my perception of what I actually heard.
In setting the scene for his lectures, he kindly offered us some of his own handy hints for defining art.
What is art? Well I think he said anything and everything, but then he also said that one way to tell if something was art was to examine 'place' - that being in a gallery might offer a hint.
Mmmh, was he actually serious about that? Did I miss his definition of gallery?
And surely I didn't hear him suggest that the political stuff, the stuff with messages, wasn't really art? Or should that be Art?
I do think I heard him mention Outsider art, along with the idea that people who create it are not artists...
Maybe I imagined hearing that too. But it does tie in with his comments about being a judge at the Koestler Awards:
'Were we being patronising? Were we being the artists and treating the art like a found object? I hope not, for spending time with this art was a joyful experience.'
Maybe I'm missing some vital wordplay? Or just some Capital Letters.
Maybe I'm missing the point - perhaps these lectures are actually art? Grayson's audio equivalent of a pot, or a rug?
Lecture 4 brought a lot of the contradiction together to create something different and other. Did it have something to say about the place of Art in society from an artist's gaze? Side stepping any of the political stuff of course.
Obviously Grayson is an artist, he has a degree in fine art from Portsmouth Polytechnic (yes, I actually wrote that before he made a point of mentioning it, along with a fulsome description of the clothes and make-up he was wearing as Claire, in Lecture 4), and the 'venue' The Reith Lectures on BBC radio 4, as fine a context as you could wish for. It must be art.
So, if no one else does it, well, I've been to art school, I could pop The Reith Lectures 2013 into a gallery and declare them to be found works of Art.
On the other hand, Grayson's fall-back option of 'going into advertising' makes me wonder if the whole thing was just a fun way to do just that.