Our latest Studio Expedition was to the Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition. Each year a Royal Academician, such as Yinka Shonibare RA, Grayson Perry RA and Jock McFadyen RA, coordinates the exhibition, and this year’s coordinator Alison Wilding RA chose the theme of ‘Climate’.
With almost 1,500 works on display, our Studio team felt there were some particular standouts in this year’s exhibition: from the tolling of Grayson Perry’s bronze ‘Covid Bell’, to the tension felt standing below an 11m long Portland limestone and reclaimed granite stone beam suspended from a wooden frame designed to demonstrate how using more stone and wood in construction could contribute to net-zero.
Our Chairman Laurie Chetwood has featured in the exhibition on a number of occasions with works such as this pen and ink drawing printed on layered acrylic ‘Wuhan Air and Water, an Environmental Solution for the Polluted Air and Water of Wuhan – China’s City of 100 Lakes’.
On another occasion Laurie exhibited this 3-D architecture model of a masterplan for Xiaowan Bay, a new city on the coast of the South China Sea, which transformed an artistic vision into a conceptual architectural scheme for a new green city where seascape, streetscape and landscape combine into a holistic community.
The History of the Summer Exhibition
Run without interruption since 1769, the Summer Exhibition is the world’s oldest open submission exhibition showcasing art in all forms, from prints, painting, film and photography, to architectural works and sculpture. 14,000 people attended the 1769 display, these days during the exhibition’s two month opening around 200,000 visitors visit it.
Anyone can enter their work to be considered for inclusion. The works are selected and hung by Royal Academicians, who also exhibit their works in the exhibition, creating an eclectic mix of work by established artists alongside emerging talent and first-time exhibitors.
The inaugural exhibition in 1769 displayed more than 130 newly produced works by over fifty artists. Now there are around 13,000 public entries to the Summer Exhibition, with about 700 making it through to hang in the galleries. In previous years, nearly two thirds of the exhibits were by non-Academicians, and over 5,000 works were sold. In recent years, the exhibition has featured new works by Royal Academicians, Honorary Academicians and artists, including David Hockney RA, Wolfgang Tillmans, Tracey Emin, Bruce Nauman, Wim Wenders and Ed Ruscha.
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