The Royal Academy Summer Show is just coming to a close (21st August) and always it has been great fun walking around the rooms, choosing which ones we might want to take home and then looking down to the list and gasping at the price.
In the words of co-ordinator Richard Wilson, this year’s edition of the Summer Exhibition is “unpredictable, stimulating and startling.”
Famous as the world’s largest open submission show, there are certain things the Summer Exhibition delivers on every single year.
It’s a panorama of art in all mediums, a remarkable mixture of emerging artists and household names, and more to see and explore than any other exhibition you’re likely to visit this year.
We kept a particular look out for work by some famous artists, and especially this year for some of the art world’s most successful artistic duos – specially invited by Richard Wilson RA – whose work is dispersed throughout.
There were some good works by Eileen Fisher, that I can appreciate but would never want to own.
Highlights include a large-scale suspended kite sculpture by Heather and Ivan Morison, sculpture by brothers Jake and Dinos Chapman, and an atmospheric photographic installation from Jane and Louise Wilson.
With the photos changing in sequence it was almost hypnotic to stand underneath and dominated the room.
The walls are always crammed full with artwork making it difficult to take everything in. This year I’ve been back a couple of times and each visit have seen something different.
In some cases a single artwork is filled with tiny separate artworks to be enjoyed.
Choosing favourites is impossible. This year I found myself drawn to the pop art on one visit, then the smaller monochromatic pieces
The architectural room was more interesting than expected, with a number of works almost origami like, leading through to genuinely origami sculptures.
There were pieces that I hated first time around and then found myself coming back to just because of their peaceful feel.
I found surprisingly little political art on display but then maybe given the state of political in the UK, maybe we’ve all just had a bit too much excitement.
As always it was the ugly subjects in pretty tone that appealed most – pretty pretty is just a but too dull.
Some not so lovely but impressive
There were a couple of works I’ve seen a number of times, beautiful but not selling at their tens of thousands asking prices.
Some such as humement which comprise a large number of pieces that can be sold at a more reasonable price.
Some that seemed worth the sky-high asking price but not as many as you’d imagine.
There were some decent nudes that I’d happily have taken home.
Not including an overpriced Tracey Emin sketch.
But definitely including a very funny “muff” picture.
There were an extraordinary number of works depicting water in one form or another.
And the occasional cityscape.
But the “spacescapes” were gorgeous.
After thinking it through, it’s the monochromatic pieces that held my interest.
As in previous years, most works are for sale, giving you the opportunity to own original artworks by leading artists of today and tomorrow. And, crucially, proceeds allow us to continue providing, free, world-class postgraduate tuition in the RA schools