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I spent a few hours today in Manchester Art Gallery. This was only unusual as I wasn't looking at the art works, rather the way we preserve and present objects and artefacts considered 'precious' and/or culturally important. It's an idea I've been carrying around in my head for a while and today I started experimenting with how I might explore this concept photographically. 

I visited every room from 17th Century Flemish paintings through to Victorian ceramics and lots in-between. By far the most congested galleries were the ones housing Grayson Perry's tapestries - The Vanity of Small Differences. I watched the faces of the people admiring the pieces and they appeared truly fascinated, studying details and pointing things out to their companions. This certainly wasn't the art glitterati but a diverse crowd in every sense, from toddlers to the elderly, drawn from many social and cultural backgrounds. Not bad for a transvestite from Chelmsford. His autobiography Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Girl is a great read, quite shocking in parts and very moving.

I was reminded again of the broad nature of city life on the way home on the tram. In front of me was an old flat capped gent reading a newspaper article about someone being fired because they had refused to give up their 'Golly' keyring. At the same time the whole carriage was obliged to listen to a much younger woman speaking loudly and unselfconsciously on her mobile phone about arts funding and how food in Paris is so much better than some unspecified place. I just smiled to myself and thought I'll write a blog entry about this...


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