Royal Academy Postpones Summer Exhibition Until Autumn




The 252nd Summer Exhibition, at the Royal Academy which was due to open in June, has been rescheduled for autumn 2020 due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. 

Like everyone, the Royal Academy is faced with navigating an uncertain time and finding ways to make the best of it – Rebecca Salter

The Summer Exhibition is the world’s largest open submission contemporary art show and has been held every year without interruption since 1769, even throughout the war years. This year Jane and Louise Wilson RA will co-ordinate the Summer Exhibition, the first time it will be curated by an artistic duo. 

Rebecca Salter, President of the Royal Academy of Arts and Chair of the Summer Exhibition 2020 Committee, said: “Like everyone, the Royal Academy is faced with navigating an uncertain time and finding ways to make the best of it. One thing is certain, though: our belief in the power of art, and the role it can play in inspiring creativity and hope. The RA has been a home for artists, architects and art-lovers for over 250 years, and we do not intend to stop now. The Summer Exhibition is embedded in our culture and plays a crucial role in supporting the artistic community and art education. This open, inclusive and democratic show gives artists a platform and helps finance the next generation, as well as giving our visitors a much-anticipated seasonal display of creativity and joy. Now more than ever we need to support our artists and architects and so it is vital for us to continue with the Summer Exhibition in 2020. We’d also like to thank our exhibition sponsor, Insight Investment, for being so supportive.” 

The exact autumn dates for the Summer Exhibition 2020 will be announced in due course. The new dates for the Marina Abramović exhibition, along with further programming information, will also be announced in due course. 

One of the founding principles of the Royal Academy of Arts was to “mount an annual exhibition open to all artists of distinguished merit” to finance the training of young artists in the Royal Academy Schools. The Summer Exhibition has been held every year without interruption since 1769 and continues to play a significant part in raising funds to finance the students of the RA Schools. The RA Schools is the longest established art school in the UK and offers the only free three-year postgraduate programme in Europe. As the world’s largest open submission contemporary art show, the Summer Exhibition provides a unique platform for emerging and established artists to showcase their works to an international audience, comprising a range of media from painting and printmaking to photography, sculpture, architecture and film. Royal Academicians are automatically entitled to submit up to six works to the Summer Exhibition and the rest of the exhibition features work by those invited by the committee and external entrants. The members of the Summer Exhibition Committee serve in rotation, ensuring that every year the exhibition has a distinctive character, with each Royal Academician responsible for a particular gallery space. Works from all over the world are judged democratically on merit and the final selection is made during the eight-day hang within the galleries. The majority of works in the Summer Exhibition will be for sale.  

Summer Exhibition 2020 Committee

David Adjaye RA

Sonia Boyce RA

Eileen Cooper RA

Richard Deacon RA

Stephen Farthing RA

Isaac Julien RA

David Remfry RA

Rebecca Salter PRA

Jane and Louise Wilson RA

Submissions for the Summer Exhibition 2020 closed on Monday 17 February 2020 and the first round of judging has taken place with the Committee. Much of the Committee’s detailed planning for the exhibition is also well underway.

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