Oscar Murillo, Theaster Gates, Chris Ofili, Ai Weiwei and Tracey Emin are among the blue-chip artists showcasing work at this year’s Summer Exhibition, delayed until the autumn for the first time in its 252-year history due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Co-ordinated by Jane and Louise Wilson, the world’s largest open submission contemporary art show will present around 1,000 works (whittled down from an astonishing 18,000-plus entries) in a range of media – including installation, painting, film, photography and sculpture – by famous names and unknown hands alike.
Eileen Cooper, Belong to Cats II. Oil on canvas, 51 x 61 cm. © Eileen Cooper RA. Photo: Malcolm Southward
Central to the exhibition is an exploration of community and what form collective communities can take. Works on display – the majority of which are for sale – will reflect upon such themes as identity, immigration, ecological threat, climate change and pro-democracy protest.
Adding a new dimension to the salon hang this year are the ‘invisible walls’, dividers suspended from the ceiling on wires to accommodate both two-dimensional works and video screens. For the first time, visitors will be able to browse a curated selection of works in the Royal Academy’s virtual Viewing Room, a user-friendly online platform which also offers an interactive tour of the galleries.
Cornelia Parker, Seeing Red. Photograph digital print, 48 x 52 cm. © Courtesy the artist and Frith Street Gallery
As ever, the Summer Exhibition will be an overwhelming, sprawling affair peppered with red dots, celebrities and frenzied art lovers keen to snap up a bargain. But if you look long and hard enough, you’re sure to fall in love with a storied keeper.
Advance booking is essential for everyone, including Friends of the RA. All visitors must have a pre-booked timed ticket to enter the building.
|What||Summer Exhibition, Royal Academy|
|Where||Royal Academy, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, W1J 0BD | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Green Park (underground)|
06 Oct 20 – 03 Jan 21, Wednesday - Sunday, 11AM - 5PM
|Price||£20 - £22|
|Website||Please click here for more information|