The stunning Claire’s Coming Out Dress by Grayson Perry was a deserving centrepiece at the wonderful Coming Out: Sexuality, Gender & Identity exhibition that graced Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery between 2nd December 2017 and the 15th April 2018. The dress was designed by Perry to mark his emergence as a transvestite to the art world.

grayson perry coming out dress  

As stated below, the dress mimics the childrens party dresses of the 60s in design but if you look closely you will see that Grayson has embroidered some unusual details to disrupt the innocence of the dress style as he celebrates the freedom to express yourself as you wish.

A very unusual butterfly indeed.

Hermaphrodite by Grayson Perry

I thought these were flowers below at first glance.

coming out dress flower details

I totally loved Grayson’s other centrepiece, his ‘Who am I?’ vase on which he details his struggles with his identity, cross-dressing and an unhappy childhood. It includes images of Grayson, a family in a domestic setting, fragmented heads and torsos plus abandoned vehicles.

who am i vase

I was mesmerised by this piece and looked at it for about 20 minutes. The melancholy, incredible textures and details make this a real tour de force for me. What a talent he is!

who am i vase

The cigarette artwork by Sarah Lucas also had the wow factor. She made it by glueing cigarettes onto a garden gnome ornament and then named him ‘Willie’. This must have been a teasing therapy for Sarah as she had just given up cigarettes! Below also is Linder’s self-portrait with her face obstructed by cutlery to represent the domestic expectations placed on women. I thought this was very thought-provoking and I agree with her critique of society telling people what they are supposed to be doing or predetermining what roles people should follow.

The featured image at the top of the blog is also a Linder work with the camera and fake smiles interrupting the couple’s gaze also a critique on how society interferes in our personal lives with preconceived ideas and pressure.

Willie gnome and Linder image

The sensitivity and the educational way the Coming Out Exhibition was put together really blew me away and it gives you a rich insight into the terrible distressing experiences that the artists had to deal with as well as the equally cruel ignorance for other people’s feelings and wellbeing that they would frequently come across.


Derek Jarman’s Morphine piece is very profound. The cruel way and words that a tabloid newspaper used to out a young actor appearing on Eastenders led to Derek expressing his anger with paint on top of photocopies of that newspaper’s front page.

morphine by derek jarman

I like how he is trying to cover up something so horrible yet leaves a small gap at the bottom to show the face of the victim of the attack. It’s a great way of conveying how the effects of this headline on the actor were given no thought at all by the people behind the newspaper.


morphine detail

The Andy Warhol prints of Marilyn Monroe and Jackie Kennedy were an interesting look at two glamorous and tragic icons exploring the differences between their public personas and the true reality of their personalities and characters that only their friends get to see.

Marilyn Monroe by Andy Warhol

Jackie Kennedy by Andy Warhol

Finally, congratulations to all those involved in this wonderful exhibition. Moving, memorable and full of emotion. I miss it already.

coming out poster