Grayson Perry - Evening & Day Editions London Tuesday, June 14, 2022 | 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 upcoming Channel 4 series ‘Grayson Perry’s Big American Road Trip’, The American Dream captures a world of conflict rooted in social media. A map of the culture of war, that could be anywhere, rages mainly online.


    Social media is full of opposing forces, difference of opinion and friction. Humans experiencing unfocused emotions, such as anger, anxiety, and fear, are unconsciously seeking something to attach these feelings to. Social media provides the issues for this attachment, and in so doing, perpetuates an ever-polarizing society. With advertisers seeking 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 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, CEO of Facebook, the best-known face 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 now may have made the ‘Racism’ and ‘White Privilege’ helicopters and the ‘Black Lives Matter’ fighter jet more prominent.


The American Dream

Etching in colours from three plates, printed on one sheet of BFK Rives paper, with full margins.
I. 106.5 x 237 cm (41 7/8 x 93 1/4 in.)
S. 109.6 x 239.7 cm (43 1/8 x 94 3/8 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 wooden frame specified by the artist.

Full Cataloguing

£40,000 - 60,000 

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Evening & Day Editions

London Auction 14-15 June 2022