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Summer Exhibition 2011 - Royal Academy of Arts

Bill Woodrow RA. Pillarbox Invigilator. Copyright The Artist. Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates Ltd

Exhibition preview

THIS YEAR, the Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition, the world’s largest open submission contemporary art show, will be on display in the main galleries from June 7 to August 15.

Now in its 243rd year, the exhibition will continue the tradition of showcasing work by both emerging and established artists in all media including painting, photography, printmaking, architecture and film.

This year’s co-ordinator is Royal Academician Christopher Le Brun. Playing a significant role is Michael Craig-Martin who will be curating one of the largest galleries. The Architecture Room will be curated by Piers Gough and Alan Stanton.

The largest space in the Royal Academy will feature a fresh approach to a traditional “salon hang”. This will include a mix of open submission works as well as pieces by Royal Academicians and Honorary Academicians. It will create a memorably dense and rich visual experience through the presentation of works hung from dado rail to picture rail.

One of the founding principles of the Royal Academy of Arts was to ‘mount an annual exhibition open to all artists of distinguished merit’ to finance the training of young artists in the RA schools. This has been held every year without interruption since 1769 and continues to play a significant part in raising funds to finance the students.

The Royal Academy receives no public funding so all those who support the Summer Exhibition by submitting work, visiting it and through purchases contribute to supporting artists of the future.

The Summer Exhibition attracts a high volume of entrants each year with over 11,000 entries received this year. The majority of works will be for sale, offering visitors an unrivalled opportunity to purchase original artwork by high profile and up-and-coming artists.

MEMORIAL ARTIST – Ben Levene RA (1938 – 2010)

Ben Levene was born Gerald Philip Levene in 1938. He won a scholarship to the Slade School of Art in 1956 and became a visiting lecturer and tutor at the Camberwell School of Art and Royal Academy Schools.

He exhibited works annually in the Summer Exhibition from 1974 onwards. His works are held in public collections including the Government Art Collection, Guildhall Art Gallery, Southampton Art Gallery and the Chantrey Bequest.

Levene was elected painter Royal Academician in 1986 and lived and worked in London. A small selection of Levene’s works will be on display.


Coloring Book by Jeff Koons (b.1955) will occupy the Royal Academy’s Annenberg Courtyard. The colourful piece reflects Koons’ interest in society’s obsession with infantilism and youth. Jeff Koons was elected Honorary Royal Academician in 2010.

Jeff Koons’ sculpture is the latest installation in the RA’s programme of Sculpture in the Courtyard and follows on from Barry Flanagan’s posthumous 2010 display of three hares; Hare and Bell 1988, Nijinski Hare 1996 and Large Left-Handed Drummer 2006, Bryan Kneale’s Triton III (2009), Sir Anthony Caro’s Promenade (2008), the Chapman’s The Meek Shall Inherit the Earth, but not the Mineral Rights (2007), Anselm Kiefer’s Jericho (2007), Rodin’s Gates of Hell (2006) and Damien Hirst’s Virgin Mother (2006).


Each year, the Summer Exhibition recognises artists of exceptional merit, awarding a total of £70,000 prize money donated by commercial sponsors. Established in 1978, the Royal Academy of Arts Charles Wollaston Award is, at £25,000, one of the largest and most prestigious art prizes in Britain.

Previous winners include: Yinka Shonibare (2010), Jeff Koons (2008), Gavin Turk (2007), Jake and Dinos Chapman (2003), Alan Charlton (2002), Marc Quinn (2001), Gerard Hemsworth (2000) and David Hockney (1999).

The Summer Exhibition is sponsored by Insight Investment.


Alongside the Summer Exhibition 2011, the Royal Academy of Arts will be running a diverse programme of special events, evening lectures and gallery talks. Dedicated events for families will include gallery talks and workshops. For children aged between 8 and 13 there will be a free printed guide sheet to the exhibition. Activity trays, including art materials, will be available for younger visitors to create their own works of art.

Summer Exhibition 2011 Gallery

Admision (prices include the List of Works giving details of every exhibit in the show): £10 full price; £8 60+ years and registered disabled; £7 NUS; £3 12-18 years and Income Support; £3 8-11 years; Free for 7 years and under. RA Friends go free.

Times: Daily from 10am to 6pm (last admission 5.30pm), Fridays until 10pm (last admission 9.30pm).

Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, W1J 0BD

Tel: 020 7300 8000

Watteau: The Drawings continues at the Royal Academy of Arts until June 5, 2011.