Unlike normal Royal Academy shows where works are given room to breathe, this is a salon hang where as much work is crammed in as possible – Francis Bacon this is not. Plus you can buy most of the works should they take your fancy, definitely not your standard museum show.
Asking whether the work is good is moot, whatever your taste in art you’ll find plenty of work you love, hate or feel indifferent about. Every year has a standout work and this year it’s outside in the courtyard in the shape of a fantastic installation by Cristina Iglesias as visitors enter through a set of plants into a curving passageway that literally drips with water as she creates an ode to the natural world – it’s a little refuge away from the noise and traffic of Piccadilly mere metres away.
A lot of visitors will like to spot the artists they recognise and Rana Begum’s unmistakeable colourful meshes are very prominent and a reminder of her excellent exhibition at Pitzhanger Manor. Aside from these it does feel rather subdued this year with no big knockout pieces on show from any of the Royal Academicians – though this is not a bad thing as it means more visitors are likely to spot the emerging artists who are some of the largest beneficiaries from being selected for the show.
Alison Wilding is the artist responsible for coordinating this year’s show and it’s hard to see if she’s left any discernible imprint, but then again it’s no easy task when each gallery has its own artist-curator in charge. The highlight being Grayson Perry’s two rooms that are distinctive given their vivid yellow walls, it feels aptly summery and the works in these two rooms reflect the artist’s eclectic taste – including a very cute painting by a child that’s selling for only £20.
It may not be a memorable year for the Summer Exhibition, but then again it seldom is. The key is to follow your eye and seek out the works you love of which you’ll find plenty, and bargains abound for prospective collectors.
|What||Summer Exhibition, Royal Academy of Arts review|
|Where||Royal Academy, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, W1J 0BD | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Green Park (underground)|
21 Jun 22 – 21 Aug 22, 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
|Price||£20 - £22|
|Website||Please click here for more information|