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Summer Exhibition 2012 - Royal Academy of Arts

View of Gallery II from Gallery I. Summer Exhibition 2011. Photo: John Bodkin, DawkinsColour.

Exhibition preview

THE ROYAL Academy’s annual Summer Exhibition (June 4 to August 12, 2012) will mark the start of the Summer Season.

The world’s largest open submission contemporary art show, now in its 244th year, continues the tradition of showcasing work by both emerging and established artists in all media including painting, sculpture, photography, printmaking, architecture and film.

The Summer Exhibition attracts a high volume of entrants annually with over 11,000 entries received this year. Royal Academician Tess Jaray is the co-ordinator for the Summer Exhibition 2012.

This year, the façade of Burlington House will be adorned with an impressive installation by El Anatsui. Inside the Main Galleries, paying homage to Matisse’s The Red Studio, the Wohl Central Hall will show a vibrant display of colourful works.

Gallery III, the grandest space in Burlington House, will be curated by Tess Jaray RA. Containing a large quantity of smaller work, this will demonstrate that work of a more modest scale can be as powerful as larger work. As a former teacher at the Slade School of Art, Jaray is mindful of providing a forum for established and younger artists to show their work to the public.

Chris Wilkinson RA and Eva Jiricna RA will curate the architecture gallery of the Summer Exhibition this year. Their curatorial direction will seek to blur the boundaries between architecture and fine arts.

Other highlights will include a video room dedicated to the work of Jayne Parker and a gallery of Scottish and Irish artists arranged by Barbara Rae RA. Other artists exhibiting this year include Christopher Le Brun PRA, Michael Landy RA, Tracey Emin RA, Ken Howard RA, Raqib Shaw, Calum Innes and Keith Coventry amongst others.

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 contribute to supporting artists of the future. The majority of works in the Summer Exhibition 2012 will be for sale, offering visitors an opportunity to purchase original artwork by high profile and up-and-coming artists.

Following on from last year’s successful BBC2 Summer Exhibition Culture Show Special, the Royal Academy of Arts is delighted to be working with the BBC once more.

Memorial Artists

The Summer Exhibition will include work by Academicians who have died in the past year. Works by John Hoyland (1934 – 2011), Adrian Berg (1929 – 2011) and Leonard Rosoman (1913 – 2012) will be on view.

Annenberg Courtyard

Two spectacularly diverse installations will occupy the Royal Academy’s Annenberg Courtyard this year.

Internationally renowned Nigerian based artist, El Anatsui, is creating a new, site specific work to be installed on the façade of Burlington House. Well-known for his striking installation on the façade of the Palazzo Fortuny, Venice, in 2007, El Anatsui works with found and familiar materials, typically bottle tops and other materials, which he incorporates to create beautiful cloth-like surfaces.

Chris Wilkinson RA has designed a graceful and engaging structure for the courtyard. From Landscape to Portrait will twist a series of eleven wooden frames through ninety degrees which will incorporate innovative seating for visitors.

El Anatsui’s and Chris Wilkinson’s installations are the latest works in the RA’s Summer programme of Sculpture in the Courtyard.

They follow on from Jeff Koons’ Coloring Book (2011), Barry Flanagan’s posthumous display of three hares – Hare and Bell 1988, Nijinski Hare 1996 and Large Left-Handed Drummer 2006 (2010) – 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).

Wollaston Award and Other Prizes

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: Alison Wilding RA (2011), 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 RA (1999).

Each year, the Summer Exhibition recognises artists of exceptional merit by awarding a total of £70,000 prize money donated by commercial sponsors.

Admission (prices include the List of Works giving details on every exhibit in the show): £10 full price; £8 60 years+ and registered disabled; £7 NUS; £4 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), late night opening: Fridays until 10pm (last admission 9.30pm).

Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, W1J OBD

For more information call 020 7300 8000 or visit