Art / 17 Sep 2018

What's Next | RA 250TH Summer Exhibition

What is summer exhibition?

JMW Turner, Modern Rome, 1839, oil on canvas

At one time the show was known simply as 'The Exhibition', where the likes of Gainsborough and Reynolds, Turner and Constable sharpened their skills against each other.

Nowadays, although there's a plethora of art fairs, commercial galleries and contemporary exhibitions to choose from, the galleries at Burlington House make an unrivalled setting for artists to display and sell their artworks.

This year, Grayson Perry RA and his committee of fellow artists have handpicked over 1,300 artworks in an array of mediums. From 12 June to 19 August, this exhibition lasted for 2 months.

RA 250th Summer Exhibition

There's a monumental sculpture by Anish Kapoor RA in our courtyard, and within the galleries you'll find vast new works by David Hockney RA and Joana Vasconcelos. Artists Mona Hatoum and Tal R. are shown alongside Royal Academicians including Wolfgang Tillmans, Mike Nelson, Tracey Emin and Rose Wylie, and Honorary Academicians Bruce Nauman and Ed Ruscha.

Symphony for a Beloved Daughter, Anish Kapoor,2018
Royal Valkyrie, Joana Vasconcelos, 2012-2017

The exhibition extends across our newly-expanded cultural campus, with prints on display in The Sackler Wing of Galleries and a "room of humour" in the new Ronald and Rita McAulay Gallery featuring David Shrigley and Martin Parr. The art extravaganza even spills out into the streets of London's West End, with an installation of over 200 flags designed by Royal Academicians.

RA 250th Summer Exhibition

This year, not only are the walls of the galleries bursting with yellow, blue, and pink paint, but the floor itself is covered with art-almost challengingly so for visitors-such as Graham Guy-Robinson's Temporary Fence (£12,000, or US$15,752) that looks like a storm has ripped through its mirrored surface and left pieces of it on the ground which the cleaning staff might mistakenly remove later.

Selfie with Political Causes, Grayson Perry, 2018
Fitting, Sofia Mitsola, 2017
Closing Down Sale, Michael Landy, 1992

Tim Marlow, the RA's artistic director, said the Summer Exhibition was "an immoveable feast and a national treasure" so it had to be a central part of what would be "a big programme of historical reflection ... who we are, where we came from and obviously where we are going to go."