The Royal Academy of Arts summer exhibition

Happy 251st anniversary to the annual Summer Exhibition! The Royal Academy of Arts’ trademark event has once again invited all kinds of creators to show their work in London. Open to any practitioner who wishes to submit a piece, this huge contemporary art showcase is predictably unpredictable.

The Piccadilly arts institution’s mission is to populate the Summer Exhibition (from 10 Jun) with approximately 1,200 artworks. It was expected that 15,000 artworks would be submitted this year, so that’s a lot of decision-making. Every year, this mammoth task is appointed to the Summer Exhibition Committee.

Royal Academy of arts summer exhibition 2018 grayson perry piccadilly london uk

The 2019 committee is headed up by the British painter Jock McFadyen. Along with a small group of fellow Royal Academicians, he has been narrowing down the works since February’s submission deadline. Each committee member is then in charge of one gallery at the RA, which gives the exhibition an eclectic vibe.

McFadyen has previously been the Artist in Residence at The National Gallery, the set and costume designer for Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s final ballet The Judas Tree and has staged more than 40 exhibitions of his work over the years. In other words, his experience should lead to a typically interesting show.

Royal Academy of arts summer exhibition 2018 grayson perry piccadilly london uk

McFadyen is looking for art that ‘responds to the contemporary world’, so expect lots of political points to be made throughout. The art on display always covers as many disciplines as possible, from sketches to sculptures and mosaics to movies.

The final decisions on which works are going to be on display are taken during the penultimate eight days before the show opens.

There are two key things to remember about the Summer Exhibition: the first is that anyone can enter work for consideration and the second is that it is massive. Thanks to the pairing of these two elements, it is guaranteed to be a thrilling show.

All photos depict previous Summer Exhibitions and are courtesy of David Parry

Summer Exhibition 10 Jun – 12 Aug 2019
Sat-Thur 10am-6pm; Fri 10am-10pm
Admission to Royal Academy: free
Admission to Summer Exhibition: adult £18; child
 free with paying adult
6 Burlington Gardens, W1J 0BD
020-7300 8000 |

From contemporary artists to the master himself… visit the Leonardo da Vinci exhibition at The British Library 

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