London’s biggest summer art event rolls round again at the Royal Academy of Arts with another monster exhibition of eclectic works by both established and lesser known artists.
‘Open to all’; Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition
The Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition is a giant, fancy, fine art bring and buy sale. Set up 250 years ago in order to finance the training of young talent at the RA Schools, the showcase was an open opportunity for artists in all career stages to display and sell their work in a prestigious setting. Today the event has remained largely unchanged; anyone is free to submit work for approval, and the proceeds of this vast art sale still benefit the academy’s esteemed schools.
Each year one Academician (artists elected to academy membership) is granted the challenge of selecting and curating some 1200 works down from the thousands of submissions received. This year that mantle has been taken up by Eileen Cooper RA, a contemporary painter whose practice focuses on stylised paintings of women and couples. Cooper will be examining themes of discovery and new talent, topics the artist is ideally suited to explore from her position as Keeper of the Royal Academy – the Academician entrusted with guiding and supporting new students.
Who to look for at this year’s show
Works on display are as diverse as ever with pieces by names such as Secundino Hernández, Isaac Julien, Hassan Hajjaj, Mark Wallinger, and Marina Abramović. Academician’s exhibiting include Sir Antony Gormley, Sean Scully, Wolfgang Tillmans, and Phyllida Barlow. Creating this year’s iteration of the much hyped Summer Exhibition courtyard installation is Yinka Shonibare RA, whose colourful six metre high wind sculpture promises to delight visitors before they’ve even set foot indoors.
As always, the majority of art on display is for sale. Pieces can be snapped up at all budgets with prices starting from under £100 up to several hundred thousand for large scale canvases or sculptures by international superstars. Purchases can be made on the day or later via the exhibition’s online catalogue. Though be warned, the best works sell quickly. Anyone who makes a purchase will be invited the following year to “Buyer’s Day”, an opportunity to see and buy several days before the general public.
Whether you are looking to make an acquisition or not, the Summer Exhibition is a light hearted, charming afternoon out and an opportunity to be immersed in a beautifully curated selection of paintings, prints, drawings, and sculptures by artists from all walks of life.
The Summer Exhibition runs from the 13th June – 20th August 2017 at the Royal Academy of Arts. Tickets priced from £15.50, friends of the RA go free.
The Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition Preview Party takes place on Wednesday 7 June 2017. This year’s party committee is chaired by Grayson Perry RA; stay tuned to Country & Town House magazine for all the party pics.