The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition is one of the great English Art traditions, it is the world’s oldest open-submission exhibition being established in 1768 whose long line of exhibitors reads like a Who’s Who of British Art. Some of the earliest exhibitors included the likes of Reynolds, Constable and Turner, however the exhibition prides itself that it offers a snapshot of contemporary art.
This year, the Royal Academy celebrates its 250th Summer Exhibition, and to mark this momentous occasion, the exhibition is co-ordinated by Grayson Perry RA. Perry, alongside the Summer Exhibition Committee, celebrate the democracy of the world’s largest open submission contemporary art show by exhibiting a range of art being made in this moment in time with the theme of ‘Art Made Now’. For the first time, the Summer Exhibition spreads across the new RA and the streets of Bond Street, Piccadilly, Regent Street and Regent Street St. James’s with Royal Academicians Rose Wylie, Grayson Perry, Cornelia Parker and Joe Tilson decorating the streets with an installation of over 200 flags.
Some of the highlights of the exhibition include the Anish Kapoor’s monumental sculpture Symphony for a Beloved Daughter, which is installed in the Royal Academy’s Annenberg Courtyard.
In the Main Galleries, David Hockney shows two vast new works which combine photographs taken from many view-points into a single monumental image.
The Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos show an enormous textile body Royal Valkyrie in the Central Hall.
Further artists exhibiting include Mona Hatoum, Antony Gormley, Michael Landy, Richard Long, Bob and Roberta Smith, Wolfgang Tillmans, Jane and Louise Wilson, Bruce Nauman and Ed Ruscha.
Piers Gough curates the Architecture Gallery which features models of varying sizes and mediums.
This year, the exhibition features over 1,300 works on show, unlike many major exhibitions, many of the works in the exhibition will be on sale.
Each room offers a kaleidoscope of colour and images in a range of media, from painting, printmaking, film and photography to sculpture, architectural works and performance art.
The Summer Exhibition offers a platform for emerging and established artists and architects to showcase their work in front of a large international audience. The Summer Exhibition also plays a practical role in training young artists, it raises funds to finance the current students of the RA Schools. The RA Schools is the longest established art school in the UK and offers the only free three-year postgraduate programme in Europe.
This fascinating exhibition has a large number of wonderfully eclectic works on display, there is really something for everyone regardless of your particular artistic taste. The Summer Exhibition is one of the highlights of the art world’s summer and attracts a wide range of visitors. It also offers a rare opportunity to buy works from well-known and not so well-known artists with prices ranging from a few hundred to over a hundred thousand pounds.
Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended
For more information and tickets, visit the Royal Academy website here
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