The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition opens to the public today, following a week of previews, parties and press mosh-pits. A spectacular array of painting, sculpture, photography and architectural design is on offer in the largest and oldest open submission exhibition in the world. The exhibition does a good job of encapsulating the national psyche in a must see show of the year. This offering is better then ever with Michael Craig Martin curating a room of RA members which could hold weight in any international museum. The room contains works by Tracey Emin, Antony Gormley,Anish Kapoor Jenny Saville,and Alan Jones. not to mention Michael Craig Martin himself.
Other rooms contain exciting emerging works in all mediums, Keith Tyson’s large painting Deep Impact is especially of note.Co-ordinator Christopher Le Brun, explaining the lack of video, said he didn’t want darkened rooms. “Daylight everywhere!” was his mantra. Former Turner Prize winner Martin Creed has created an installation from a pile of chairs, Anselm Kiefer has contributed a large picture of a submarine and Everyone has created a print for the printroom.
The Royal Academy of Arts founding principle is to ‘mount an annual selling exhibition open to all artists of distinguished merit’ to finance the training of young artists in the RA Schools. This has been held every year without interruption since 1769 and continues to play a significant part in raising funds to finance the students. The Royal Academy receives no public funding so all those who support the Summer Exhibition by submitting work, visiting it and through purchases contribute to supporting artists of the future. The Summer Exhibition attracts a high volume of entrants each year with over 11,000 entries received this year. The majority of works will be for sale, offering visitors an unrivaled opportunity to purchase original artwork by high profile and up-and-coming artists.
Alongside the Summer Exhibition 2011, the Royal Academy of Arts will be running a diverse programme of special events, evening lectures and gallery talks. Dedicated events for families will include gallery talks and workshops. For children aged between 8 and 13 there will be a free printed guide sheet to the exhibition. Activity trays, including art materials, will be available for younger visitors to create their own works of art. There are still tickets for Thursday’s gala preview. Tickets, priced from £235, are available from the Royal Academy: call 020 7300 5974 or email
The RA show is a celebration of 21st century art in Britain. The RA is where the great and good hang alongside the best of the wannabes, old and young. This is one of the few exhibitions which break down the barriers, allowing artists who create in the shadows to have their moment in the sunlight. Photo: © ArtLyst Michael Craig Martin looks at Tony Cragg