Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Summer Exhibition 2014 at the Royal Academy of Arts

I visited the 246th Summer Exhibition of the Royal Academy of Arts today. Below you'll find a photoessay about exhibition plus two sections about
  • facts about the Summer Exhibition 2014
  • changes in the Summer Exhibition
I'll be doing another couple of posts - about artwork I liked and who won the Prizes - with the big one being announced on Saturday night.

I wasn't blown away by any of the rooms or pieces in the show - although there's a lot to like - however I still puzzle as to how or why some pieces get in! Overall it's both well hung and 'hangs together' better than some other shows

Some facts about the 246th Summer Exhibition

Entries and artworks

  • 12,000 people entered works for the exhibition via the open entry; 
  • 1,262 artworks are listed in the catalogue
  • works from this year's selection from the open entry were initially selected from digital images

Summer Exhibition Committee

The Summer Exhibition Committee for 2014 includes the following Royal Academicians: Hughie O’Donoghue (coordinator) - who have the tour this morning. Plus Eileen Cooper, Gus Cummins, Richard MacCormac, John Maine, Chris Orr, Cornelia Parker, Eric Parry and Emma Stibbon.

Summer Exhibition - Venue | Opening dates and times

The Summer Exhibition can be seen in the Main Galleries of the RA's home at Burlington House, in Piccadilly. It opens to the public on Monday 9th June and finishes on 17th August 2014. The exhibition is open

  • daily 10am – 6pm daily (last admission 5.30pm) 
  • with a late night opening on Fridays until 10pm (last admission 9.30pm)
Tickets are available daily at the RA or by visiting Admission prices include the List of Works giving details on every exhibit in the show. Adult ticket £13.50 (without Gift Aid donation £12); concessions available; under 12s go free. Friends of the RA go free.

Art for sale

  • the majority of art is for sale
  • the top price I've spotted (to date) is £600,000 for Last Train by new academician Ron Arad RA. (Check out his website - I was left wondering how come it had taken the RA so long to invite him to become a member!)
  • the most sales come from the Print Room - very popular with visitors as it offers the opportunity to buy art without a mortgage!
Gallery II - one of the Print Rooms
curated by Chris Orr RA and Emma Stibbon RA
Gallery I - one of the Print Rooms
curated by Chris Orr RA and Emma Stibbon RA

New Academicians

  • there are more new Royal Academicians this year than ever before. 
  • most of the new RAs have never exhibited at the RA before
  • all art submitted by the RA has to be hung - so in effect the look and feel of the exhibition is dictated by the work submitted by the RAs

End of an era

  • The number of new Academicians in part reflects the deaths of academicians. The Summer Exhibition 2014 will also feature works in memory of the Royal Academicians 
    • John Bellany (1942 – 2013), 
    • Ralph Brown (1928 – 2013), 
    • Sir Anthony Caro (1924 – 2013), 
    • Maurice Cockrill (1936 – 2013) and 
    • Alan Davie (1920 – 2014).

How they spend the money

  • One of the Royal Academy of Arts' founding principles is to 'mount an annual exhibition open to all artists of distinguished merit' to finance the training of young artists
  • Commissions from sales are used to fund the training of young artists who are postgraduate students in in the Royal Academy Schools. They pay no fees for the duration of their studies.

Some changes for 2014

  • The Wohl Central Hall is devoted to work by new RAs - including this very unusual sculpture by Yinko Shonibare RA
Cake Man by Yinko Shonibare RA £162,000
in the Wohl Central Hall
you can see more of his mannequin works on his website
The Small Weston Room
The Small Weston Room - East Wall
The Small Weston Room 
the right hand wall includes two small paintings by Una Stubbs of Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman
  • The Architecture Room this year is dominated by concepts and ideas rather than lots of rather large models - and becomes much more accessible as a result.  It also has a rather splendid and odd bicycle which can actually be ridden.
Part of the Architecture RoomThe Bike ('Town Nuns') is by Ron Arad £100,000
  • Sculpture has this year been mixed predominantly with drawings and that seemed to work very well. The 
Part of the Sculpture Room curated by John Maine RA
Sign by Bob and Roberta Smith
  • An innovation this year is the Black and White Room (in the large Lecture Room) curated by Cornelia Parker RA. She invited Royal Academicians Michael Craig-Martin, Richard Deacon, Tacita Dean, and Michael Landy to exhibit works, as well as other high-profile artists who previously wouldn't have thought of entering the Summer Exhibition such as Martin Creed, Jeremy Deller, Mona Hatoum, Christian Marclay, Laure Prouvost and David Shrigley. Some of the artists have created new works specifically for this room. In a way it's a bit like having a curated contemporary art exhibition in the middle of a gigantic art society exhibition.  It works very well.
Part of The Black and White Room curated by Cornelia Parker
  • There's a very big black painting by Sean Scully RA which dominated the end wall in Room III
Room III - the end wall is dominated by
Doric Night - a large black oil painting on aluminium by Sean Scully
which can be seen from the other end of the Main Galleries
The exhibition is sponsored by Insight

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