7 June—15 August 2011
In the Main Galleries, Burlington House
This exhibition has now closed
An essential part of the London art calendar, The Royal Academy's Summer Exhibition is the largest open contemporary art exhibition in the world, drawing together a wide range of new and recent work by established, unknown and emerging artists.
Installation view of Gallery III, Summer Exhibition 2001. Photo: John Bodkin/DawkinsColour
This year’s co-ordinator is Royal Academician Christopher Le Brun. Playing a significant role is Michael Craig-Martin RA who is curating one of the largest galleries. The Architecture Room is curated by Piers Gough RA and Alan Stanton RA.
One of the founding principles of the Royal Academy of Arts was to 'mount an annual exhibition open to all artists of distinguished merit' to finance the training of young artists in the RA Schools. This has been held every year without interruption since 1769 and continues to play a significant part in raising funds to finance the students. The Royal Academy receives no public funding so all those who support the Summer Exhibition by submitting work, visiting it and through purchases contribute to supporting artists of the future.
The largest space in the Royal Academy features a new approach to a traditional “salon hang”. This includes a mix of open submission works as well as artworks by Royal Academicians. A dense and rich visual experience is created through the presentation of works hung from dado rail to picture rail. Works on display include a large canvas by the Danish painter Per Kirkeby and Keith Tyson’s apocalyptic painting Deep Impact.
The Summer Exhibition attracts a high volume of entrants each year with over 12,000 entries received this year from 27 countries. The majority of works are for sale, offering visitors an unrivalled opportunity to purchase original artwork by high profile and up-and-coming artists. Michael Craig-Martin’s curated room features works by newly elected and established Royal Academicians including Tacita Dean, Gary Hume, Allen Jones, Cornelia Parker, Jenny Saville and Alison Wilding. Craig-Martin has also curated the Wohl Central Hall which greets visitors on arrival with a celebration of photography. For the first time these walls are hung solely with the work of artists who use photographic media including an image by Cindy Sherman Hon RA.
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