Bluestocking: The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 2015 Unveiled

Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 2015

The Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition 2015 opens to the public on Monday so here’s the lowdown. Artist/lecturer and mentor of Damien Hirst, Michael Craig-Martin RA is again spearheading the quest. The hanging committee for the Summer Exhibition includes Royal Academicians Norman Ackroyd, Olwyn Bowey, Gus Cummins, Jock McFadyen, David Remfry, Mick Rooney, Alison Wilding and Bill Woodrow. The architecture room is curated by Ian Ritchie RA. This is never an easy task and the show this year is as over hung as a donkey! 

As the world’s largest open submission art exhibition, expect crowds of blue stocking, grey shoe wearing art lovers descending on Piccadilly.  The Summer Exhibition provides a unique platform for emerging and established artists and architects to showcase their works to an international audience, comprising a range of media from painting to printmaking, photography, sculpture, architecture and film. This year the Royal Academy received 12,000 entries, from which a committee of Royal Academicians, will make a selection to hang on the walls of the Main Galleries in Burlington House. Over 1,200 artworks will go on display, the majority of which will be for sale offering visitors an opportunity to purchase original artwork by high profile and up-and-coming artists.

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 current 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. This link between the Summer Exhibition and the Schools is one that Michael Craig Martin particularly values: “It is not always fully appreciated that the funds raised by the Summer Exhibition contribute towards the funding of the RA Schools which are the only graduate art school in England which does not charge tuition fees.”

Conrad Shawcross the youngest RA has created a new site-specific installation for the RA Courtyard for the Summer Exhibition 2015. Entitled The Dappled Light of the Sun, 2015, the large-scale, immersive work will consist of a group of five steel ‘clouds’, which will inhabit the courtyard’s central space. The branching forms are made up of thousands of tetrahedrons and stand at over six metres high and weigh five tonnes each. 

Conrad Shawcross said, “The Greeks considered the tetrahedron to represent the very essence of matter. In this huge work I have taken this form as my ‘brick’, growing these chaotic, diverging forms that will float above the heads of visitors who will be able to wander beneath them. I am extremely excited to see the completed work exhibited for the first time in the RA’s historic Annenburg Courtyard, for which it was conceived.” 

The Summer Exhibition has been held every year without interruption since 1769. As the world’s largest open submission exhibition, the Summer Exhibition provides a unique platform for emerging and established artists and architects to showcase their works to an international audience, comprising a range of media from painting to printmaking, photography, sculpture, architecture and film. Over 1,200 artworks are on display, the majority of which are for sale. 

Mr Craig-Martin grew up and was educated in the United States. He studied Fine Art at the Yale University School of Art and Architecture and, on completion of his studies in 1966, he moved to London where he has lived ever since. His work, which includes painting, printmaking, installations projections and drawing, depicts common place objects. Craig-Martin currently has a solo exhibition at the Himalayas Art Museum in Shanghai, China until 31 March and an upcoming exhibition at the Goss-Michael Foundation in Dallas, Texas in April 2015. Craig-Martin’s teaching career started in 1966, but it is his period at Goldsmiths College, London for which he is best known. His former students include many of those artists who made such a significant impact on the art scene in the 1990s, including Damien Hirst and Sarah Lucas, and fellow Academicians Lisa Milroy, Gary Hume and Fiona Rae.

Review to follow

Top Photo: P C Robinson © artlyst 2015 others via Twitter