SUMMER EXHIBITION 2017 AT THE ROYAL ACADEMY OF ARTS

  • Words: Jay Pinxie Turnbull

What an amazing collection of works the Royal Academy (RA) has for their 249th summer exhibition.

Hassan Hajjaj_Henna Bikers

Given a press guided tour and a free reign to wander the rooms was an exceptional treat.

Eileen Cooper is the co-ordinator of this exhibition and worked with a committee to bring her vision together. There had to be a cap of 1200 pieces, and these had to be chosen from thousands of entries from this open submission. 

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That is a hard task and took many months of deliberation with the hanging committee. Different things appeal to different tastes and as you can imagine there were many “discussions” with members championing their favourite pieces. I think they got the balance right.

Tracey Emin_And I Said I Love You!

The Royal Academy began in 1768 and has always had a man at the pioneering front. in 2010 this changed with Eileen being appointed  the first female as Keeper of the Royal academy. 

This year she wanted to open up the exhibition to reach newer younger artists working in all media as well as artists from abroad  resulting in a fresh, lively, challenging exhibition. Don’t worry there are still some of the well known established artists included such as Gilbert & George, Anthony Gormley and Tracey Emin to name a few.

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I have to say, I view an exhibition the same way I can breeze and scan through a rail of clothes in a charity shop in minutes. The gems are either there or sadly lacking. 

This exhibition has the the gems and I browsed for ages. I loved some of this artwork so much I wanted to buy a piece.  Sadly it already had a red “sold” dot on it. These works are for sale and money made goes towards raising funds to finance the current students at the RA schools. So not only can you buy original artwork and perhaps own a piece by an up and coming artist who in the future is as well known as Monet, you help fund the future artists still at school.

Installation view of the Summer Exhibition 2017 Photo (c) David Parry

The show is set out into 10 rooms, hosting Sculpture, architectural art, big pieces, photography and small pieces.

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By far my favourite room was hung by Gus Cummings. It is a smaller room for smaller pieces of art which would be overwhelmed and lost in the bigger galleries there. it is packed with some beautiful pieces that you can spend time studying intimately. This room seems full of creativity, inquisitiveness, colour and life. It hosts mostly newer art.

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This Summer Show has something for everyone and takes a while to get around, I went round twice and still missed things. 

If you are an art lover this is a great value exhibition, fresh and interesting not predictable and stuffy which is a huge achievement for such a large gallery. Bravo