grayson perry has made a giant ceramic penis inspired by bankers
'There's no disputing what it is. It's a big cock.'
Grayson Perry has unveiled two new art works inspired by London's financial sector, one of which is a giant ceramic penis. Titled Object in Foreground, the large piece grew out of the artist's conversations with City workers as part of his latest Channel 4 series exploring notions of masculinity in the 21st century. Embossed with banknotes, the glazed phallus also features images of George Osborne, despite the chancellor's strongest assurances that some of his best friends aren't bankers.
"I was thinking of an object that could hold its own amongst all the marble (of the City lobbies) but drew attention to the unquestioned maleness of its world," Perry says, of an artwork he admits is perhaps not his most subtle, and for a time was displayed in the Shard. "Men dominate the financial centre, especially at the top, so I wanted to make something that said it's there all the time, it's the centre of gravity that's pulling us all in."
A second work, titled Animal Spirit, was made using woodblock techniques and depicts a half bull, half bear-like creature, emblazoned with the words 'serious', 'reasonable' and 'objective'.
"I've been interested in animal spirits as a euphemism for emotional over-exuberance in the market," he says. "The masculinity you see in the City is cloaked long ago under gentlemanliness and rationality and 'good business practice'. The beast still lurks, but he's very well-behaved."
Grayson Perry: All Man is on Channel 4 tonight (19 May).
Text Matthew Whitehouse
Photography courtesy Channel 4