Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 2015 | Art Attack

Art Attack

Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 2015.

The Royal Academy’s famously bright, grand and adored Summer Exhibition is back

Spreading it’s technicolor one stop shop of renowned and never heard of before works of art… floor to ceiling, across 12 elaborately hung galleries! This year playfully co-ordinated by pop/conceptual/colour loving, artist and legend Michael Craig-Martin RA.

Walls have been licked with bursts of turquoise, baby blue and bubblegum pink. Hung in the ‘more is more’ salon style for which the Summer Exhibition has become most famous. Featuring a variety of remarkable new work by leading, established and admittedly often beginner artists – all handpicked from the over 12,000 entries which the RA receives each year!!!

247 years in the running, The Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition is the largest and oldest open submission exhibition in the world.  It’s earliest exhibitors including the likes of Reynolds, Constable and Turner, and today feature regular attendees such as Tracey Emin, Grayson Perry, Anish Kapoor, and Zaha Hadid among others.

Sculpture, painting, printmaking, architecture, photography, neons, it’s yours for the taking at the Summer Exhibition! 1,100 pieces, expertly curated in a kaleidoscope of brightly vivid visuals, showcasing artists from all walks of life, to the international masses of visitors and collectors! Something for every taste… and every budget. A place where a painting from a unknown artist valued at £250 can rub shoulder’s on the same wall as a work priced at £60,000.

But despite its reputable lineage and impressive line-up, art critics have been quick to turn their nose up at the past few seasons, arguing that quantity is out weighing quality and the RA should take a more minimalistic approach to the Summer Exhibition. With the Telegraph commenting this year that “for many, it ceased long ago to be an art exhibition worthy of review like any other, but is now a bastion of the English cultural summer, alongside Royal Ascot and Henley Regatta.”

For me I feel the draw of the Summer Exhibition isn’t that complex. Unlike other monumental contemporary art big daddies like Frieze,  it doesn’t take itself too seriously. Fostering an approachable and non-pretentious atmosphere. Something for those of us who simply like to look at good work, but who aren’t sipping fair trade flat whites and reading high brow art lit in the members bar of the Tate every Sunday.

Yes it’s perhaps a visual bombardment of old and new, but you would fail to argue that the RA’s execution isn’t extremely impressive and unique, whether your an art lover or not…. and as far as comparing the Summer Exhibition to a day at the races; I think we’ve still got a ways to go before you’ll see a girl covered in fake tan in a mini skirt puking into a Moët bucket at the Royal Academy. …unless of course theres a free bar I don’t know about, and that girl happens to be me.

the ra Summer Exhibition 2015
8 June- 16 August
Admission is £13.50 | Concessions available, under 16 is free
Tickets available at

Words by Tracy Kawalik
Photos by Tracy Kawalik and The Royal Academy

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