Monday, 29 July 2013

RA Summer Exhibition 2013

Hubby and I finally made it to the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition on Saturday. My first attempt was thwarted a few weeks back when the RA was closed for a private function. The Summer Exhibition is the world’s largest open-submission exhibition, displaying more than 1000 works including painting, printmaking, photography, sculpture, architectural models and film by emerging and established artists. Most works are for sale at prices from £100 to £200,000+.

El Anatsui, 'TSIATSIA - searching for connection', 2013. Aluminium, (bottle-tops, printing plates, roofing sheets) and copper wire, 15 x 23 metres.

Contained over many gallery rooms, there was heaps to see. In my mind, the exhibition displayed 'good' and 'bad' artworks in equal measure. Many artworks took my breath away. Grayson Perry's series of six tapestries entitled 'The Vanity of Small Differences' were amazing to view. Intricate and painstakingly produced. In other rooms, there were some beautiful landscapes and seascapes in glorious colours. I very much enjoyed the Prints Room which contained a variety of woodcuts, monotones, etchings, linocuts, engravings and collagraphs. All very inspiring.

However, there were some awful artworks. I can't get my head around why a pencil squiggle on paper can command £1000 just because it is by an 'established/famous artist'. Can you produce any old self indulgent drivel once famous?? I don't buy into the naive style of painting either, works that could have been produced by a 5 year old. I just wish I understood the criteria of the judging panel, other than the need to produce a controversial exhibition. What to they think makes a talented artist? What makes good art? Any ideas?

We spent about two hours viewing the Summer Exhibition. Then on to 'Mexico: A Revolution in Art, 1910-1940' which was interesting and 'Richard Rogers: Inside Out' which was brilliant containing radical, intricate architectural designs and models.

After the RA, we visited the British Museum. More on that tomorrow.


  1. Thanks for that description, Andrea. Very interesting and probably similar to what I would've said. I have a friend whose work was accepted this year and it sold too! I didn't see the piece, I do like her work: it was probably an abstracted landscape (though she might hate that description!). Quite glad I've a good excuse not to go to London - too far away!

  2. Interesting Post Thanks for Sharing Andrea x

  3. An interesting review. I always say I'm going to see the show but never get round to it (isn't apathy wonderful). Maybe I'll make it this year, as I only work a little way away in Westminster.