24 September 2016 — 2 January 2017
Exploring an unparalleled period in American art, this long-awaited exhibition reveals the full breadth of a movement that will forever be associated with the boundless creative energy of 1950s New York.
Intrigue: James Ensor by Luc Tuymans
29 October 2016 — 29 January 2017
The theatrical, the satirical and the macabre come together in arresting fashion in the art of James Ensor. Curated by Luc Tuymans, this exhibition will present a truly original body of work, seen through the eyes of one of today’s leading painters.
John Gibson RA: A British Sculptor in Rome
8 September — 18 December 2016
Marking the 150th anniversary of his death, this exhibition shines a light on John Gibson RA, the most successful British sculptor of his generation. Celebrated for his evocative renderings of Greek myths such as 'Cupid and Psyche', Gibson was also patronised by Prince Albert, who commissioned him to produce several portraits of Queen Victoria. This exhibition brings together several pieces that would've been shown in Gibson's studio at the height of his career in the mid-18th century.
Art Sales: Surface Cutting
7 September 2016 — 20 February 2017
Eileen Cooper RA presents a diverse collection of works for sale by Royal Academicians including Grayson Perry, Eileen Cooper, Vanessa Jackson and Stephen Chambers alongside a number of invited artists.
As I see it
Antony Gormley: "We need art more than ever"
In our new series, artists reflect on art, life and lessons learnt. Here, Antony Gormley RA explains how he first found his subject, why the arts are vital in education and why he’s ashamed of Brexit.
Which Abstract Expressionist are you?
The movement that dominated New York's art scene in the 1950s came with a pack of interesting characters... Take the quiz to find out if you're a jazzy Jackson Pollock or a mellow Mark Rothko.
James Ensor: A man of many masks
The Belgian artist James Ensor painted life through the lens of the carnival, creating unsettling and often satirical works. Michael Prodger searches for the man behind these intriguing images.
How to read it: "the origins of the Corinthian order"
Currently on show in our ‘Origins’ display, Sir William Chambers’s beautiful 18th-century drawing tells an ancient story about the beginnings of architecture.
“History of Art has never been more relevant than in 2016”
With art gallery attendance at record levels and global events putting pressure on cross-cultural understanding, History of Art is a more vital subject than ever. The decision to axe its A Level may be a sad sign of things to come, says guest columnist Professor Michael White.
This week: five top art shows to see
21 – 27 October
From sculptural works made of everyday materials, to photographic works savouring everyday moments, the ordinary seems extraordinary in the best art shows this week.
Halloween late-night opening
Saturday 29 October 2016
6.30 — 9.30pm
The witching hour is upon us: we’re keeping the doors of the RA open for a spooky Halloween evening. Explore our eerily good exhibitions, sip on Vampire's Bite and Cannibal Corpse cocktails and get a ghoulish makeover with face-painting on-site.
'Broken Promises' by Basil Beattie RA
This new limited-edition screenprint by Senior Academician Basil Beattie was created exclusively for the Royal Academy, in celebration of our 'Abstract Expressionism' exhibition. ‘Broken Promises’ relates to a painting by Beattie of the same name, and features his characteristic "stair" motif. Beattie describes the image as having "psychological and emotional weight", citing the landmark Abstract Expressionism exhibitions of the late 1950s as having profoundly influenced him at the time.
Luc Tuymans: An agent provocateur
Belgium’s leading contemporary painter, who curates the RA’s James Ensor exhibition, tells Sam Phillips why it is time to reassess Ensor’s art.
What’s coming up in 2017 at the Royal Academy of Arts
The RA’s Artistic Director introduces our 2017 exhibition programme, which explores some of the most momentous developments in 20th-century art.
How to… make a wood engraving, with Anne Desmet
In the first part of our new video series looking at artistic techniques, Anne Desmet RA demonstrates each step in creating a wood engraving, from tracing the original drawing through to printing a first proof.
Ten 1950s artist hangouts to visit in New York
The fabled Cedar Tavern might be long gone, but there are still plenty of Greenwich Village spots where you can grab a coffee, or something stronger, in the New York of Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko and friends.
Mayfair & St James's interactive gallery map
Produced by the Royal Academy of Arts in collaboration with GalleriesNow.net, this interactive map highlights the 145 art locations in this historic quarter of London, including 139 commercial galleries, four auction houses and the RA itself.
Christmas opening hours
New York nights: the Manhattan of the Abstract Expressionists
New York’s legendary Cedar Tavern and the surrounding galleries became the hub of the New York art scene in the 1940s and ‘50s. Morgan Falconer walks the streets where reputations were on the line.
On, Around and Beyond Jackson Pollock’s ‘Mural’
With speech-to-text transcription and BSL interpretation
Friday 4 November 2016
'Abstract Expressionism' curator David Anfam explores the origins, significance and influence exerted by Jackson Pollock’s ‘Mural’ (1943) – one of the most influential artworks of the 20th century.
How to read it: John Gibson’s 'Cupid and Psyche'
So, the God of Love is chasing the soul in the Underworld… We take a look at how one of Britain’s most celebrated 19th-century sculptors tackled an ancient Roman tale in marble, as it goes on show in the Tennant Gallery.
The Royal Academy is undergoing a transformative redevelopment in the build-up to 2018, when we will celebrate our 250th anniversary. Each month, we'll share with you a behind-the-scenes look at this massive architectural undertaking.
Odd couples: Artists you never knew were friends
As we announce a show on the little-known relationship between two of modern art’s greatest masters, we take a look at the friendship between Dali and Duchamp, and five other artist pairs you would never have guessed.
Academicians in Focus
Ken Howard's Switzerland
28 April – 30 October 2016
Inspired by Turner, Ken Howard RA’s en plein air paintings of Switzerland reveal the landscape in a new light.
New horizons: Elizabeth Price on the downside of video art and trying curating
Video artist Elizabeth Price is curating a show in Manchester that explores the horizontal in art. Anna Coatman meets her and finds the concept works on many levels.
Eileen Cooper RA
Keeper of the RA Schools and curator of the current Art Sales exhibition, 'Surface Cutting', Eileen Cooper was recently honoured with an invitation to the 2016 'Women of the Year' annual lunch. Her work, described as "magic realism", encompasses drawing, painting, printmaking and sculpting.
I think the world is mad and only if I work can I make some sense of it.
David Hockney RA
Royal Academy Christmas cards
Find cards to suit all tastes with our diverse range, featuring images from popular artists and Royal Academicians including Bob and Roberta Smith RA, Richard Spare and Mary Fedden RA.
Hockney: “People like pictures – they won’t go away”
David Hockney RA and Martin Gayford in conversation
In an extract from their forthcoming book, A History of Pictures, David Hockney RA and Martin Gayford discuss the impact of the digital age on art. Will painting survive?
Debate: Is originality in art overrated?
Should artists bow to tradition, or should they break all the rules? Martin Gayford and Richard Cork go head to head. Vote on the winner below.
How I made it, by Rebecca Salter RA
Rebecca Salter RA talks about the “uncharted territory” of working in film for Picture the Light, her collaboration with the musician Max de Wardener.
Paul Huxley RA: my days with the Abstract Expressionists
Delving into his own memories of New York’s Abstract Expressionist scene, Paul Huxley RA recounts dinner parties and road trips with the likes of Lee Krasner, Mark Rothko, Robert Motherwell and Helen Frankenthaler.
The moment just before a work is finished, it’s finished. You want a bit of nervous twitching, a bit of tension, in the sculpture.
Richard Wilson RA
What’s it like to sit for David Hockney?
Hear from four of the sitters painted by David Hockney for our exhibition ‘David Hockney RA: 82 Portraits and 1 Still-life’, from 11-year-old Rufus Hale to the architect Frank Gehry.
Brian Catling RA’s imaginary studio
The ebullient, multimedia artist-poet Brian Catling RA is reluctant to identify his studio as a physical space, as Fiona Maddocks discovered when she met up with him in Oxford.
Very rarely as an artist do you get that real ecstasy of painting – you are always chasing it.
Chantal Joffe RA
Thought of Train of Thought: Ron Arad RA
From 7 July 2016
Celebrated sculptor Ron Arad RA presents a monumental steel installation in St Pancras International station, which is now open to the public. It is the second public artwork in a four-year partnership between the RA and St Pancras International.
‘RA Family Album’ wraps Burlington Gardens
A new artwork by Yinka Shonibare RA wrapping the RA's Burlington Gardens building brings together over 160 images that span the Royal Academy’s 248-year history. The juxtaposition of images reveals the rich tapestry of activity which takes place behind these walls.
The act of drawing is at the heart of everything I do. It is the most intimate of processes and at its best reveals both the hand and mind of the artist to the viewer.
Rebecca Salter RA
Revolution: Russian Art 1917–1932
11 February – 17 April 2017
One hundred years on from the Russian Revolution, this powerful exhibition explores one of the most momentous periods in modern world history through the lens of its groundbreaking art.
Inside the Academy
Tumblr: From the RA
Discover works from the RA's Collections
We've reached the half-way point on our quest to digitise 10,000 items from the Royal Academy of Arts' vast collections. Visit our Tumblr to discover drawings, sketches, prints, books, oddities and wonders, all revealed by RA staff and a team of volunteers.
There is only one rule for aspiring artists. That is, only become one if you have absolutely no choice, if your drive is so strong that nothing else could be contemplated. If you think in terms of worldly success, forget it. The rewards are in the doing and in the breadth of art.
Tess Jaray RA
Listen to RA Podcasts
From short stories read by leading novelists to artists and experts in conversation, catch up on events at the RA with our podcasts.
Architecture is a public art, and is never really finished. When a building is completed it’s the beginning of its life – a life which really only starts when people inhabit and breathe life into it. Buildings change, evolve and grow.
Alan Stanton RA
Explore our Collection
The Royal Academy Collections include paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, historic books, (i.e. published before 1921), archives, historic photographs and plaster casts.
Become a Friend of the RA
Free RA Tours
Discover the art, architecture and history of the RA in these special, one-hour tours that include the historic John Madejski Fine Rooms.
Don’t worry what other people say about your work. Be free. That’s what art is about.
Cornelia Parker RA
Learn from experts and artists
Our new programme of short courses and classes offers the opportunity to explore subjects ranging from life drawing to the history of portraiture, led by expert tutors and practising artists.
Inside the Academy
Redeveloping the Royal Academy
For nearly 250 years, the RA has been a place to make, exhibit and debate art. For our anniversary in 2018 we are opening up the RA as never before, transforming our historic buildings – and inviting Friends and visitors old and new to celebrate with us.
Inside the Academy
The RA Schools
A school of contemporary fine art, right at the heart of the RA.
Looking for an art-lover’s gift?
Order bespoke art prints, canvases and framed reproductions from our Collection online.
Join the club
The Academicians’ Room in the Keeper’s House began life in 1883, becoming the favourite haunt of the Academy’s artists as a private members club. The room has entered a new phase in its rich history, and has reopened with a fresh new look by the renowned Martin Brudnizki Design Studio. Members can expect artworks by Royal Academicians on display, an exceptional food menu and an exciting programme of events, including an artist-led Salon Series.
Friends of the RA
RA Art Tours Worldwide
These expert-led small-group tours, created by travel specialists Cox & Kings, focus on the art, architecture and archaeology of some of the world’s most fascinating destinations.