Grayson Perry - Evening & Day Editions London Wednesday, January 17, 2024 | Phillips

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  • “This map toys with the common delusion that there is a clear and certain route out of our mess of feelings.”
    —Grayson Perry
    Made in response to the artist’s travels in the U.S., when filming for his Channel 4 series Grayson Perry’s Big American Road Trip, Perry’s The American Dream maps a world of conflict rooted in social media. In our contemporary society, social media is an epicentre of friction and contrasting opinions. Perry propounded that as humans experience unfocused emotions, such as anger, anxiety, and fear, we unconsciously seek something to attach these feelings to. Social media provides the issues for this attachment, and in so doing, perpetuates an ever-polarizing society. While advertisers seek lengthened online engagement, algorithms keep people hooked to their screens by encouraging quarrel and outrage. Unconscious bias leads people to cherry-pick nuggets of information viewed online, and algorithms entrench these biases, providing streams of content to reinforce opinions.


    For The American Dream, Perry drew inspiration from Cold War propaganda maps, showing the “communist threat” in the 1950’s. The central figure at the top is Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook and one of the best-known faces of social media. Red arrows reach across the landscape, representing the negative emotions that keep people scrolling through their online accounts. Ships, planes and tanks are labelled with the issues and buzzwords that fuel the algorithm. In the centre of the image Air Force One collides with a Russian bomber labelled “Climate Change”. Perry states how at the time of making, that was the central issue, but in the year since “Racism” or “White Privilege” helicopters and “Black Lives Matter” fighter jets may have been more poignant.


The American Dream

Etching in colours from three plates, printed on one sheet of BFK Rives paper, with full margins.
framed 117 x 247.5 cm (46 1/8 x 97 1/2 in.)
Signed in pencil on the front and numbered 36/68 in pencil on the reverse (there were also 15 artist's proofs), published by The Paragon Press, London, contained in the original artist's specified wooden frame.

Full Cataloguing

£20,000 - 30,000 ♠†

Sold for £22,860

Contact Specialist

Because of technical difficulties our sale is delayed. We should resume soon. Sorry for the inconvenience.
+44 20 7318 4024

Rebecca Tooby-Desmond
Specialist, Head of Sale, Editions

Robert Kennan
Head of Editions, Europe

Anne Schneider-Wilson
Senior International Specialist, Editions

Louisa Earl
Associate Specialist, Editions

Evening & Day Editions

London Auction 17 - 18 January 2024