Ten Things I Loved About The RA’s 250 Anniversary Summer Exhibition

Anish Kapoor RA Summer Exhibition

Love it or loathe it the RA’s Summer Exhibition is here to stay as a permanent fixture of the London art calendar. This year we are assaulted by the RA’s most flamboyant flaneur Grayson Perry who has chosen to paint the walls buttercup yellow.

This is clearly Grayson’s vision and agenda realised

This is a haphazard display of random artworks that out-kitsch and compete for a few square centimetres of wall space. It is clearly Grayson’s vision and agenda. The rooms come off more like a complete Jim Shaw style installation than a display of great and good examples of amateur and professional painting, as seen in past shows. This must be the largest display in the history of the RA Summer Exhibition, which celebrates its 250 anniversary this year.

Grayson Perry RA curates the main room at the RA Summer Exhibition 2018
Grayson Perry RA curates the main room at the RA Summer Exhibition 2018

The exhibition is fun, fun, fun but in terms of promoting great new work from promising artists much ended up looking like the work you find in a local Charity shop or on eBay.

Conrad Shawcross Sculpture at RA Summer Exhibition 2018
Conrad Shawcross Sculpture at RA Summer Exhibition 2018

On an up-note, Conrad Shawcross has done well-curating sculpture this year. It is an elegant selection displayed beautifully. The RA’s youngest artist again has excelled in the task of putting together a first-rate group exhibition.

RA Summer Exhibition 2018 - Prints
RA Summer Exhibition 2018 – Prints

Prints on the top floor in the Sackler wing have never looked better. Curated by Chris Orr and Emma Stibbon it is perhaps the first time the print section has come into its own.

The Royal Academy of Arts was founded by King George III in 1768. It has a unique position in being an independent, privately funded institution led by eminent artists and architects whose purpose is to be a clear, strong voice for art and artists. Its public programme promotes the creation, enjoyment and appreciation of the visual arts through exhibitions, education and debate. The RA is undergoing a transformative redevelopment which will be completed in time for its 250th anniversary in 2018. Led by the internationally-acclaimed architect Sir David Chipperfield RA and supported by the National Lottery, the plans will link Burlington House on Piccadilly and Burlington Gardens for the first time, uniting the two-acre site. The redevelopment will also reveal the elements that make the RA unique, sharing with the public the historic treasures in its Collection, the work of its Academicians and the RA Schools, alongside its world-class exhibitions programme.

Phyllida Barlow
Phyllida Barlow curated room with El Anatsui, Richard Woods and Lisa Milroy

Words/Photos Paul Carter Robinson/Sara Faith © Artlyst 2018 Top Photo: Anish Kapoor ‘Symphony for a Beloved Daughter’ PC Robinson © Artlyst

Royal Academy Summer Exhibition Dates and Opening Hours :Open to public: Tuesday 12 June – Sunday 19 August 2018 10am – 6pm daily (last admission 5.30pm) Late night opening: Fridays until 10pm (last admission 9.30pm).

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