Gilbert & George have quit the Royal Academy over an alleged dispute involving a cancelled show promised before the change over of Administration, last winter. This included the departure of their friend Artistic Director Tim Marlow and the election of Rebecca Salter as new President (PRA).
The Guardian wrote in a February that duo, Gilbert Prousch and George Passmore referred to the high-profile show they believed they had been offered. But only a few days later, after learning it was not to happen, they resigned as academicians, something that has not happened since 2005, when Peter Blake reportedly quit in protest over the expulsion of his friend Brendan Neiland, the former director of the RA school.
The former Royal Academicians Aged 76 and 78 respectively, are internationally recognised for their work which ranges from early performance pieces to cleaver Pop Art collages incorporating current events.
The process of electing royal academicians states they must be artists or architects under the age of 75 and there are never more than 80 of them at a given time. When they reach 76, they become senior academicians and replacements are elected via nomination process.
Perhaps, the Academy is looking to make future shows more inclusive shedding the ‘White Male Privileged’ (WMP) reputation the RA has had for centuries. This means more solo shows by women and more representation of minorities at the gallery.
The RA was founded in 1768 by a group of 40 artists and architects who became the first Royal Academicians. The first president was Sir Joshua Reynolds, whose statue now stands outside Burlington House.
Over the past 250 years, we’ve moved house several times, elected hundreds of new RAs and even survived the Blitz – all while continuing to stage an annual Summer Exhibition, elect new members and champion art and architecture in all its forms.