The 244th edition of the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition gets underway next week with a series of press views and special openings. The world’s largest open submission contemporary art show will be continuing the tradition of showcasing work by both emerging and established artists in all media including painting, sculpture, photography, printmaking, architecture and film.
Every year the Summer Exhibition attracts a diverse array of entrants with over 11,000 submissions received this year. Royal Academician Tess Jaray is the co-ordinator for the Summer Exhibition 2012. Jaray was born in Vienna, and studied at the Slade School of Fine Art, where she subsequently taught for many years. In 1960 she was awarded the Abbey Minor travelling scholarship to Italy, and the French Government scholarship. She had her first individual exhibition of paintings at the Grabowski Gallery in 1963, and since then has exhibited regularly in Britain and abroad.
Inside the Main Galleries, paying homage to Matisse’s The Red Studio, the Wohl Central Hall will show a vibrant display of colourful works. Gallery III, the grandest space in Burlington House, will be curated by Tess Jaray RA. Containing a large quantity of smaller work, this will demonstrate that work of a more modest scale can be as powerful as larger work. As a former teacher at the Slade School of Art, Jaray is mindful of providing a forum for established and younger artists to show their work to the public.
Chris Wilkinson RA and Eva Jiricna RA will curate the architecture gallery of the Summer Exhibition this year. Their curatorial direction will seek to blur the boundaries between architecture and fine arts. Other highlights will include a video room dedicated to the work of Jayne Parker and a gallery of Scottish and Irish artists arranged by Barbara Rae RA. Other artists exhibiting this year include Christopher Le Brun PRA, Michael Landy RA, Tracey Emin RA, Ken Howard RA, Raqib Shaw, Calum Innes and Keith Coventry among others.
The Royal Academy of Arts has a unique position in being an independent, privately funded institution led by eminent artists and architects whose purpose is to promote the creation, enjoyment and appreciation of the visual arts through exhibitions, education and debate.
The Academy was founded by George III in 1768. The 34 founding Members were a group of prominent artists and architects including Sir Joshua Reynolds and Sir William Chambers who were determined to achieve professional standing for British art and architecture. They also wanted to provide a venue for exhibitions that would be open to the public; and to establish a school of art through which their skills and knowledge could be passed to future generations of practitioners.
The Academy today continues to aspire, in the words of its eighteenth-century founders, ‘to promote the arts of design’, that is: to present a broad range of visual art to the widest possible audience; to stimulate debate, understanding and creation through education; and to provide a focus for the interests of artists and art-lovers. The Academy has held an annual Summer Exhibition of works for sale since its formation and its first loan exhibition was held in 1870. The Academy now enjoys an unrivalled reputation as a venue for exhibitions of international importance.
The show always attracts a wide audience. Many are not seasoned gallery goers or members of the public who regularly engage with contemporary art. The work is often uneven but highly representative of the diverse styles and mediums that make the UK an international art hub. Photo: ©ArtLyst 2011