Home » Exhibitions » Summer Exhibition 2021 at the Royal Academy from 22 September 2021 – 2 January 2022

Summer Exhibition 2021 at the Royal Academy from 22 September 2021 – 2 January 2022

The Royal Academy presents this year’s Summer Exhibition, which has been delayed to the autumn for the second time in its long history due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. At a time when artists have been denied important opportunities to show work, the 253rd Summer Exhibition will be a unique celebration of contemporary art and architecture, providing a vital platform and support for the artistic community. It remains the world’s largest open submission contemporary art show and has been held every year without interruption since 1769, even throughout the war years.

Yinka Shonibare RA is the co-ordinator of the Summer Exhibition 2021 and the exhibition will explore the theme of ‘Reclaiming Magic’ to celebrate the joy of creating art. Shonibare said “This exhibition seeks a return to the visceral aspects and the sheer joy of art making.

Invited artists this year will include Michael Armitage, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Ellen Gallagher, Rita Keegan, Jade Montserrat, Magdalene Odundo, Faith Ringgold and Betye Saar. New work for the exhibition will be shown by Alvaro Barrington, Angela de la Cruz, Hew Locke, Cassi Namoda, andLawrence Lemaoana, who has created a large-scale textile kanga. The exhibition will be anchored to a special dedication to the self-taught American artist Bill Traylor (1853 – 1949) who was born into slavery and only began to draw his recollections and observations in 1939. Further self-taught artists will include Souleymane Fall, Nnena Kalu, Frantz Lamothe, Bärbel Lange, Marie-Rose Lortet, Frank Walter and Johnson Weree.

David Adjaye RA is curating this year’s Architecture Room which will consider architecture through the expression of ‘Climate and Geography (or vice versa)’ focusing on the context of site, geography, climate, political climate, people, community and culture. Royal Academician architects featured will include Farshid Moussavi, Richard Rogers and Caruso St John, and invited architects will include Sean Canty, Counterspace and Atelier Masomi. As part of the sound programme, Peter Adjaye, a conceptual sound artist, has created a ‘soundtrack’ for the Architecture Room.

In addition to the large number of public submissions, Royal Academicians and Honorary Academicians will be showing new works, including Phyllida Barlow, William Kentridge, Conrad Shawcross, Wolfgang Tillmans and Rose Wylie. John Akomfrah RA will have a dedicated gallery showing his video work Peripeteia, 2012.

This year, the Summer Exhibition will expand beyond the spatial and visual with a sound programme. The programme, which is intended to be played through personal headphones to enhance the experience of the exhibition, will include soundscapes and poetry by six artists.

Works from all over the world are judged democratically on merit and the final selection is made during the eight-day hang in the galleries. This year the Royal Academy received over 15,000 entries, of which around 1200 works, in a range of media, will go on display. This open, inclusive and democratic show supports the artistic community, art education and provides a display of creativity and joy for the public.

The majority of works in the Summer Exhibition will be for sale, offering visitors an opportunity to purchase original work. Funds raised support the exhibiting artists, the postgraduate students studying in the RA Schools and the not-for-profit work of the Royal Academy.

For more information and tickets, visit the Royal Academy website here

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