My Gods
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ldewey's picture


Grayson Perry is no small genius for co-opting the classic form of a vase with his...less-than-conventional subject matter. 

My Gods is only slightly larger than your typical vase, so the four detailed figures that it depicts take some neck-craning to make out. Each character is meant to represent one of four ‘Gods’ from Perry’s personal theology. They’re also supposed to reflect his view of his parents, which we find especially disturbing in light of Doreen, the god of cleanliness and vengeance. Doreen is shown strangling a little boy whose t-shirt reads ‘childhood ends in divorce’ and brandishing a spray can labeled ‘anal: things have to be clean.’ The second female god is only marginally less terrifying-- a dominatrix with blood dripping from her lips and onto the wounded face of the small dude that she’s holding. The evil stepmother, perhaps? 

On the other hand, Perry’s father figures are a mixed bag. There’s Luigi, the ‘god of quiet machismo’ who simultaneously rides and inserts his penis into a motorcycle, and Alan, ‘the god of imagination’ who looks pretty dang friendly with his nature-print suit jacket and happy child reading on his knee. We’re not sure if Alan can fully redeem an anus-cleaning mother, a vicious dominatrix, and a penis-brandishing motorcyclist, but we can definitely appreciate the overall positivity that he brings to the vase.

rzarlif's picture


A pot is a pot, until Grayson Perry gets hold of it.

The pot is a relatively innocent and humble object, and the last thing you would expect is one covered in wacked out sado-masochistic rituals, formidabe trannies, retched child abuse, evil step mothers and step fathers...But Perry is a guerrilla potter. Pots and vases with attractive, classic shapes and gorgeous colors come with extreme and disturbing content.

Apparently it is not for everyone. Journalist Jonathan Jones complains that, "Grayson Perry won the Turner prize for his scratchy, ugly vandalism of perfectly good vases. Perry uses a medium he has obvious contempt for, and is rewarded as if his crass reduction of thousands of years of beauty and imagination to a cliche of middle-class domesticity were somehow profound."

Hm, I would rather avoid this particular kind of middle-class domesticity.