Wednesday, April 14, 2021

RA Summer Exhibition 2021: Call for Entries

 This is about how to enter the Summer Exhibition 2021 of the Royal Academy of Arts - as in

  • a summer exhibition which is actually more Autumn / Winter as it is being held between 
    • opens - Wednesday 22nd September 2021 
    • closes - Sunday 2nd January 2022 
  • the Call for Entries opened yesterday 
  • the Digital Submission closes on Monday 24th May 2021. 
The RA Summer Exhibition 2021 is being held in the Autumn / Winter

Yinka Shonibare RA will be the co-ordinator of this year's exhibition and chair the selection panel

Themes for this year's exhibition

The theme of the overall exhibition in 2021 is ‘Reclaiming Magic’.
"The show is to be titled 'Re-claiming Magic' and will transcend a singular Western art history's point of reference to focus on magic and a return to the visceral aspects of art-making. The exhibition will be a celebration of the transformative powers of the magical in art, a return to the ritualistic and the sheer joy of making. Western Renaissance art education, Modernist and Conceptual Art practices led to the devaluing of art practices from other cultures in their unmediated forms. This exhibition seeks to restore value to marginalised practices, to reclaim the magic of those works in the context of the Royal Academy. I seek to propose a new pride in the concept of 'Primitivism' as an equally valid form of enlightenment alongside other Art practices".

The theme for the Architecture Room at the RA Summer Exhibition 2021 will 

  • consider architecture through the expression of “Climate and Geography (or vice versa)” 
  • focusing on the context: site, geography, climate, political climate, people, community and culture.
which sounds interesting!

Selection and Hanging Commitee 2021

It's worth studying the background and interests of those who comprise the Selection and Hanging Committee.

Those responsible for the selection of work - and then hanging it in the exhibition - are as follows. I've indicated their respective category (of election to the RA), the year of election after their name - and embedded 
  • their website in their name
  • their RA page in the year of election
  • Sir David Adjaye OBE (2017) - awarded the RIBA Gold Medal in 2021 - an award winning Ghanaian-British architect known to infuse his artistic sensibilities and ethos for community-driven projects


  • Tony Bevan (2007) - the security certificate on his website has expired so Google won't let me see it.... His RA Page suggests he's not had a recent exhibition.  You can see 12 artworks by or after Tony Bevan at the Art UK website - but they are all old and pre-election to the RA. Apparently his subject matter is his head.
  • Vanessa Jackson (2015) - a British painter, notable for her abstracted wall installation paintings.
  • Mali Morris (2010) From Oct 2019 - Oct 2020 she was Professor of Painting at RA Schools.
  • Humphrey Ocean (2004) I rather like his very simplified paintings of people 
  • Bob and Roberta Smith (2013) Patrick Brill OBE RA, better known by his pseudonym Bob and Roberta Smith, is a British contemporary artist, writer, author, musician, art education advocate and keynote speaker.  He's the one who always seems to produce paintings of sloganeering text - there again he did train as a sign artist!


  • Emma Stibbon (2013) - Engraver - works primarily in drawing and print on paper depicting environments that are undergoing transformation including the polar regions, volcanoes, deserts, coastal and urban locations. Currently Senior Lecturer in Fine Art Printmaking at the University of Brighton.


  • Eva Rothschild (2014) - she designs and sculpts in geometric forms.
  • Yinka Shonibare CBE (2013) (Co-Ordinator) -  explores issues of race and class through the media of painting, sculpture, photography and film.

How to enter

The basics are:
  1. Create your account prior to submission
    • Submitted in 2020? You should already have a Summer Exhibition account. 
    • Login to your account, or request a new password if you’ve forgotten.
    • First time entrant? Register now and we’ll send you a link to your new account.
  2. Pay your entry fee
    • You can enter one or two works, for a fee of £35 per work, which covers our administration costs. You can pay this online by credit or debit card.
  3. Enter the details and upload images of your artwork

A longer version covers everything you need to know

Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, please note that dates may be subject to change.
Basically it assumes no third wave after everybody gets back from their summer holiday - IF they can leave the country!

1. You NEED TO READ carefully:
2. Who can enter
: any
  • artist living or dead (or their representative)
  • artist collaborations
  • under your own name or a pseudonym (but read the guidelines carefully)
3. What you can NOT enter - The following types of work are inadmissible:
  • works that are over the specified size limit of 244 x 350cm
  • works that have already been exhibited in a major institution in London (excluding prints);
  • works that are not recently made
  • printed reproductions of original works
  • works that contain noxious or toxic substances, have flammability below 50°C, contain human tissue, or incorporate dangerous electrical appliances. 
  • editions of sculptures cast in materials that are different to the materials of the exhibited work.
  • Interactive works that require handing and audio visual works that require headsets.
4. How to enter - and get screened:
  • Register for an artist account and sign in (or sign into one you've previously registered)
  • Purchase an entry form one or two works, for a fee of £35 per work
  • Enter the details and upload digital images of the ORIGINAL artwork as per prescribed image limits
  • make sure your price takes account of both commission and VAT due to the RA if a work is sold
  • complete application, payment and upload prior to the deadline
  • To help you produce good digital entries for your submission DO NOT IGNORE THE FOLLOWING!

5. Deadline for Entries
: 23:59 (GMT) on Monday 24th May 2021

6. Results of Round 1 screening (re. selection from digital images): Thursday 1st July 2021

7. Account Status re. your Entry moves through:
  • Submitted
  • Shortlisted OR Not selected

8. Judges invite 4,000 shortlisted artists to Stage 2 Judging
- and to deliver actual work. You are sent an entry pack containing labels and barcodes to affix to it re. delivery of your artwork to the RA.
The Summer Exhibition Committee will then shortlist up to 4,000 entries to be delivered to the Academy for the final round of selection.

9. Transport of artwork / Delivery to the RA

10. Delivery of shortlisted works: - which MUST be unpacked prior to delivery to RA Art Handlers
  • Sculpture and Architecture - Monday 9th August, 8am to 4pm 
  • Two-dimensional works - Wednesday 11th & Thursday 12th August, 8am to 4pm
Works delivered outside of the times given in the exhibition schedule will not be accepted.
11. Results of Round 2 Judging of actual entries (re. shortlisted works delivered to the RA): Saturday 4th September 

12. Attend Exhibition Varnishing Day Reception (on your own / no guests) Monday 13th September, times to be announced

13. 2021 Exhibition: Wednesday 22nd September 2021 – Sunday 2nd January 2022

14. Collect unselected artwork by 20 June 2020

15. Handle any sales of your artwork
  • for duration of exhibition (i.e. why you MUST read the Guide to Selling)
  • the price of any fine art prints (but NOT other artwork) MUST include the cost of UK postage and packing for shipping the artwork to the buyer.
  • besides reading the RA Guidance you may also want to review my pages about:
  • NEW: I think the reference to the anti-money laundering legislation / regulation (in para 8.5) is new - since this was introduced in 2020. This affects all high-priced artwork (or multiple purchases exceeding a total of £7,000) and makes the artist as seller responsible for independent due diligence checks on the buyer.
Customer Due Diligence The government has introduced new legislation that affects all art dealers, galleries and buyers. If a buyer purchases over £7000 worth of artwork at the Summer Exhibition over the course of 12 months, we are obliged to perform identity checks, similar to those made when an individual opens a bank account.  Guide to Selling | RA

16. Collect "artwork exhibited but unsold" 
  • between Tuesday 11th January – Saturday 29 January 2022 - times to be announced.
  • You MUST present the hard copy of the Removal Order issued by the RA to collect work or go home empty handed!
17. If your artwork was selected but NOT hung in the exhibition, you can collect 
  • Non-exhibited works Monday 13 September - Saturday 2 October, times to be announced.

You can also read my TIPS for entries to the 2020 RA Summer Exhibition - but remember 
  • this was published last January i.e. BEFORE the pandemic
  • for last years's exhibition
However lots of it is still relevant.

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