This bronze medal from 2008 is a limited edition of 50 from Grayson Perry’s Medal collection. The medal portrays a Madonna-like figure, dominating the composition, holding shopping bags and surrounded by world-famous designer logos.
In 2008, on the occasion of the British Museum’s show Medals Of Dishonour, which the artist helped to organise, Perry was asked to contribute to the show by pairing the museum’s selection of historical medals from the 16th to the 20th century with a contemporary piece. According to the curator of the show, Medals Of Dishonour called attention to those medals that “condemn rather than celebrate their subjects” with an ironic and dark-humoured tone that fit Perry’s artistic agenda perfectly.
Faith In Shopping, in tune with the rest of the exhibition, is a satirical and mocking commentary on the politics of consumer culture and capitalistic materialism. The image appropriates traditional post-conquest South American portrayals of the Virgin and uses them to portray Our Lady Of Bond Street, in reference to the famous shopping venue. Rather than a devout Virgin, Our Lady Of Bond Street is instead surrounded by designer brands and is committed to shopping, the purse in her arm referencing famous designer handbags. The piece then reads as a satirical commentary of the reverential attitude towards consumer goods, a theme that Perry explores repeatedly throughout his work in pieces like The Vanity Of Small Differences.
Despite its simplicity, Perry’s medal offers once again a witty commentary on societal habits covered in humour and art historical references.