Science Museum acquires Grayson Perry artwork for COVID-19 exhibit
The Science Museum has unveiled a new ceramic artwork made during Britain’s first COVID-19 lockdown in 2020 by artist and cultural commentator Grayson Perry.
‘Alan Measles – God in the time of Covid-19’ was acquired by the Science Museum Group and is now on display in the Science Museum’s Medicine: The Wellcome Galleries.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Perry worked with Channel 4 to present two six-part Grayson’s Art Club television series. The newly acquired artwork was created during a “fantasy” themed week.
The acquisition of the work was made with the support of Art Fund (with a contribution from the Wolfson Foundation), the Victoria Miro Gallery, the Contemporary Art Society and the Hiscox Foundation.
The artwork is part of the Science Museum‘s COVID-19 exhibit, which features items acquired for the nation as part of the group’s COVID-19 collection project. Accompanying items include empty vials used in the world’s first mass vaccinations, signs from daily government briefings, homemade face coverings and COVID-19 test kits.
Perry’s work is inspired by the historic “albarello” jars used to hold medicines in hospital pharmacies. The artwork features a tale of lockdown experiences featuring Alan Measles (Perry’s famous teddy bear) alongside Perry’s alter ego Claire and Professor Chris Whitty, the Kingdom’s chief medical adviser -United. NHS workers are pictured as part of the painting wearing PPE and holding rainbow signs,
Perry said: “This work reflects my state of mind at a time of great fear and uncertainty. Alan Measles – my personal metaphor for God, masculinity, care and safety – is distraught because his other half is gravely ill. His efforts to help the hospital are mocked by protesters. Depressed and exhausted, he joins a group of homeless people under a highway.
Natasha McEnroe, Guardian of Medicine at the Science Museum, said: “I am delighted that we have acquired Perry’s beautiful and moving artwork for Medicine: The Wellcome Galleries.
“These objects represent not only advances in the diagnosis and protection against COVID-19, but now, with Perry’s works, the emotional impact of experiencing a public health crisis.