Exhibitions Museums United Kingdom

A new spirit in the Summer Exhibition

Royal Academy of Art’s annual salon-style show opens to invited guests

An installation view of Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 2014. Photo: © Benedict Johnson

Works in the Royal Academy of Arts’ (RA) 2014 “Summer Exhibition” are selling fast as the annual open submission show, which has been held every year without fail since 1769. Invited guests arrived last night, 4 June, and were soon filling the RA’s main galleries, clutching copies of the little red book that lists the artists, titles and prices of around 1,200 paintings, prints, photographs, sculptures and architecture models selected by the Hanging Committee.

For the first time, the initial round of judging was via digital submissions, which has helped make this year’s exhibition more international than ever, said Tim Marlow, the RA’s newly appointed director of artistic programmes, at the press view earlier the same day.

The painter and Academician, Hughie O’Donoghue, is the senior co-ordinator of this year’s “Summer Exhibition”, or as Marlow quipped, the RA’s “chief hanger”. Proceeds from the sale of works go toward funding the training of young artists in the Royal Academy Schools. This year’s exhibition is sponsored by Insight Investment, a BNY Mellon company.

Visitors to the exhibition, which opens to the public on Monday (9 June-17 August), will find a new spirit to the Summer Show as the work of many of the 15 new Academicians and Honourable Academicians are prominently displayed. Among the record number of new RAs elected over the past year are Rosemarie Trockel and Marlene Dumas and the first African Royal Academician, El Anatsui. Trockel is showing a monochrome abstract Assisted Lines and Dumas two portraits in oil, Red Cape and Helena, both not for sale. El Anatsui’s AG + BA, which is a large work in aluminium and copper wire that is partly suspended, is particularly impressive in Room IX (price on request).

Room V, which is devoted to architecture, contains the work of another new Academician, Louisa Hutton of Berlin-based Sauerbruch Hutton. Conceptual images and a colour study for the planned M9 Museum complex in Mestre, on mainland Venice, can be purchased for £2,500 and £1,000 respectively.

In the largest of the RA’s main galleries, Room III, can be found Anselm Kiefer’s Kranke Kunst (not for sale), a typically large work on canvas by the German artist, who is an Honorary Academician. It provides an overture to his forthcoming retrospective at the RA, which is due to open on 27 September (until 14 December).

An installation view of Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 2014. Photo: © Benedict Johnson
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9 Jun 14
15:27 CET


It`s not at all professionally twee,quaint and provincial . It`s not at all a cardboard façade. It`s not at all a fake In-crowd. It`s not organised by tragic career narcissisists. It`s not at all aestheticised "western Buddhism" commodity ideology arbitrarily drifting around directionless and devoid of intellect. It`s not at all bourgeois. Tim Marlow says the Academy is "establishment and anti-establishment". It`s not at all stupid for all it`s educational privileges. It doesn`t suck at all.

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