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Claire and Perry Go Large

"The world is a scary place when you're a sensitive plant like me..."

- Grayson Perry, accepting the Turner Prize, dressed as his alter ego, Claire.

8 December 2003

Grayson Perry the Transvestite Potter ™ has won the Turner Prize. Perry is also Claire. Claire and Perry make pots. Rude pots mainly, or shocking pots, like We've Found The Body Of Your Child.


Pretty shocking. Although perhaps not shocking as it could be. Why not go the whole hog...?

We've Found The Body Of Your Child And Sorry We Have To Tell You This Madam But It Didn't Half Stink - Jesus - I Nearly Lost My Lunch


We've Found The Body Of Your Child And But A Herd Of Wild Pigs Got To It First So There's Not Much Left Apart From The Feet And Shoes But I've Put Them In A Jiffy Bag For You

After all, it's not about the pottery. It's the dressing. Adrian Searle made the good point that: "His pots are offbeat luxury goods, around which his life story, his childhood miseries and Claire herself create an aura."

As Claire, Perry often goes to "art scene parties" (the phrase used by Maev Kennedy in the Guardian), sometimes wearing "her blue and white satin Bo-Peep outfit, complete with ribboned crook." Perry makes the interesting observation: "There aren't many other worlds that would be so accepting of a transvestite potter from Essex." Accepting? My God, they must have turned cartwheels. You can just imagine how much those ghastly Hoxton wankers would have adored him turning up with his hair in bunches, 6ft tall, holding a "ribboned crook".

Perry's triumph is to pick a character that works. Like Emin - the mouthy boozer obsessed with telling everyone about her adventures in anal sex. In its way, the Transvestite Potter ™ is as brilliant an invention as Harry Potter. It was Perry's trump card. As Perry himself said:

"It's about time a transvestite won the Turner Prize."

The 'video artist' Willie Doherty, one of this years' three losers, tried playing the political card: apparently he witnessed the Bloody Sunday shootings in Londonderry as a 12-year-old. Sorry Willie, but that's just not sexy. However, if this incident had affected you so deeply that you now dress always as a paramilitary - balaclava, jack boots, rifle slung over your shoulder - now that would be something we could work with.

Grayson Perry's website:


More art comment here:


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