RA Summer Exhibition – Yes/No Reflections
Have you heard of the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition? It’s the world’s largest open submission contemporary art show, showcasing work by both emerging and established artists in all media including painting, sculpture, photography, printmaking, architecture and film. By the way, open submission stands for ‘anyone can enter’ and this of course is very good news for artists who are just starting their first steps on the road to fame (in this case the word ‘fame’ hides increasing your skills, finding people who will love your artwork, successful sales and opportunities to earn a living as an artist).
Anyway, when I was first told about this open submission contemporary art show I thought it was a brilliant idea – imagine being a part of all this! Telling your friends to go and see your artwork hanging on one of the walls in Burlington House, thousands of art lovers admiring your creation and maybe even fighting over it, as most of them would love to have it in their living room. I must admit I have a very vivid imagination, which sometimes leads me down the wrong paths…
At the moment the ‘brilliant idea’, mentioned above, has turned into a string of doubts, which has been spun into a ball. I’m afraid that ball is getting bigger and I need more information that would let me decide if I’d say ‘Yes’ or ‘No’, if asked about the Summer Exhibition. I must admit I’m dying to know who gets through.
It is said that the Summer Exhibition attracts a high volume of entrants annually. This year they received more than 11,000 submissions! How many make it to the finish line? Well, it’s only about a thousand. At this point, if you’re good at maths, you should already know that the chances of getting in are pretty slim (so it’s a ‘No’ then), BUT you can enter two of your creations (‘Yes!’). Of course there is a cost (nowadays the only thing you could get for free is some cheese in a mouse trap) – you’re supposed to pay 25 pounds per artwork (hmm… quite a lot). Yet if you read this:
The exhibition begins in the Wohl Central Hall, which this year pays homage to Matisse’s The Red Studio. The vibrant gallery provide a backdrop to a selection of paintings whose main concern is colour. Gallery III, the grandest space in Burlington House, is curated by Tess Jaray RA. Containing a large quantity of smaller paintings, the gallery demonstrates that work of a more modest scale can be as powerful as larger work.
25 pounds seems like a reasonable price (and we’re back to ‘Yes’).
My biggest ‘No’ would be that you have to arrange for someone to deliver your artwork straight to the RA, you can’t just send it, as they want to get it already unwrapped. This of course adds to the cost of taking part in the Summer Exhibition lottery, BUT if you have good friends, who live in London, it’s still possible.
I used the word lottery as the chaces to get your artwork shown in Burlington House are probably equal to the chances of you winning a million. This year I have seen one painting that has been rejected and I can’t believe that there were that many more that were as fascinating, interesting or gripping. Of course art is a very subjective matter, so I simply need to see the exhibits before I can pronounce my firm ‘No’. Before I do that I can’t shake the feeling that the Summer Exhibition is just a well thought of and a very profitable business plan.
If you decide to see the Summer Exhibition you’ll be asked to pay 10 pounds for your ticket (I asume this Blog is read by adults) and I guess if I were in London at the time (the exhibition closes on the 12th of August) I’d be tempted to go. My other option is to get their catallogue online, that would be minus 13 pounds, but probably plus some certainty?
First published in the 1870′s, the Royal Academy Illustrated presents the highlights of each year’s show and is a fascinating barometer of changing artistic tastes. The catalogue illustrates a wide range of the works on display and installations shots of the galleries, together with an informative introduction by the co-ordinator of this year’s exhibition, the painter Tess Jaray RA, making it an indispensable record of the event.
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Information for this post was found on RA website and Wikipedia.