It's that time of year again where we celebrate the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. And while the Guardian's recent article had some choice words to say about the selections made for this year’s exhibit, we want to share why we've always loved it.
1. You don’t have to be Banksy to get in (but you might be exhibited next to him)
Due to the openness of the exhibition, any artist can enter their work. The atmosphere of the RA Summer Exhibition is unlike any other gallery, making this such a unique experience that allows for immense exposure. And, almost all artworks are for sale at the exhibition, which helps artists get their name out there. This year, more than 1,500 artworks are on display and although this includes Banksy and other Royal Academy regulars, this does not mean that everyone is a famous artist. Each room is decorated by a different committee member who has their own vision for their part of the exhibition and creates whatever environment they desire. One of this year's curators, Jock McFayden, filled a room with all kinds of animal paintings and sculptures created by artists that are both well known and new to the game.
2. It doesn’t take itself too seriously
The art world is full of snobbery, big words and overblown ideas - the RA summer exhibition has always been a place that is free of all of that. It's for everyone, by everyone. The people’s exhibition, which is exactly what art should be. It also finds new and interesting ways to fill its walls, which separates it from typical art galleries.
3. It’s delightfully bonkers
Each year the Summer Exhibition is a different experience. This year boasts large sculptures in the courtyard, a zoo in the central hall, a politically charged collection in Gallery I, plus much more. In 2018, the exhibition appeared to be a mix of just about anything. There was no telling what you would find when you turned the corner. The beauty of the Summer Exhibition is in the experience as much as in the art.
4. It won’t take you an eternity to get around
You can never have too much art, but you can have too little time. While 1,500 sounds like a large number of artworks, it’s nothing in comparison to Tate Modern’s 78,000. In other art galleries and museums, you could spend hours seeing everything you want and then never go back in your entire life. With the Summer Exhibition there is always new, unique work each year that will keep you wanting to return.
5. Lots of Artfinder artists exhibit
Among the hundreds of artists that are chosen to exhibit their work each summer, we're happy to see some familiar faces. Nadia Attura and Hannah Forward are among those who have exhibited their prints at the Royal Academy multiple times now. One of Kev Munday’s paintings was admitted to the Summer Exhibition for the first time this year. Each year, multiple Artfinder artists are shortlisted and many more have been admitted in previous years. Check out a collection of works from artists that are currently or have previously exhibited at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition here.
Royal Academy Summer Exhibition
Cover image via the Royal Academy