19 September — 13 December 2015
★★★★★ - Guardian ★★★★★ - Times ★★★★★ - Telegraph
Major artist and cultural phenomenon Ai Weiwei takes over our main galleries with brave, provocative and visionary works. Advance booking is strongly recommended. Friends of the RA go free.
From Monet to Hockney: 2016 at the Royal Academy
The Royal Academy’s Artistic Director Tim Marlow explains what’s in store in for the next year as we launch our 2016 exhibition programme.
Advance booking recommended for Ai Weiwei
We strongly recommend advance booking to see Ai Weiwei. Friends of the RA go free but we advise booking a time slot.
a project by Edmund de Waal
26 September 2015 — 3 January 2016
This unique project in the RA Library and Print Room is an exploration of the colour white and the impact that white objects have on their surroundings; an interweaving of words and books with sculpture, paintings and photographs.
Thinking through drawing: Chris Wilkinson
3 September 2015 — 14 February 2016
Giving a unique insight into the mind of an architect, the RA presents the personal sketchbooks of Chris Wilkinson RA.
Enter now: open call for designers
We’re inviting fresh and dynamic designer-makers to make the leap from Etsy to the shelves of the Royal Academy shop.
Inside the Academy
Tumblr: From the RA
Explore discoveries from the RA's Collections
We're on a 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.
Daniel Maclise: The Waterloo Cartoon
2 September 2015 — 3 January 2016
★★★★ - Telegraph
To coincide with the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo a rarely exhibited treasure of the RA’s Collection, the Daniel Maclise cartoon, The Meeting of Wellington and Blücher after the Battle of Waterloo, will be on display after spending decades in storage.
Push Up Wood Figure
Take home your very own Ai Weiwei! This push up wooden figure has been developed exclusively between the RA and the man himself. It features Ai Weiwei standing on top of a Han Dynasty urn printed with one of his trademark "ism's", and is inspired by his artwork S.A.C.R.E.D.
Digital (Dis)connections: Ai Weiwei Late on 24 October
See Ai Weiwei after hours and enjoy an evening of talks, performances, installations and more inspired by Ai Weiwei’s infamous blog and prolific use of social media.
24 October 2015 — 31 January 2016
An eccentric and distinctive portraitist, Liotard's work conjures up the magnificence and cultural curiosity of the age in vividly lifelike detail.
Teacher Workshop: Ai Weiwei – Art and Activism
In this special workshop for teachers, we investigate how Ai Weiwei’s work reflects issues in the contemporary world, and ask how we can document our lives and culture and say something meaningful.
Our pick of this week’s art events: 2 – 8 October
From the polyphonic world of Rachel Rose, to a fascinating insight into metric photography, we highlight the best of this week’s art openings, exhibitions and events.
Ai of the tiger
Sam Phillips meets Ai Weiwei in his Beijing studio
Fearless and uncompromising, Ai Weiwei’s art challenges cultural values, confronts injustices and pushes materials to their limit. Sam Phillips talks to the artist about his show at the RA, which he was not expecting to be able to attend.
You brought Ai Weiwei’s Tree to London
Thank you to our 1,300 Kickstarter backers who contributed £123,000 to bring Ai Weiwei's monumental installation to our courtyard.
Edmund de Waal on his new project ‘white’
This autumn, the RA Library and Print Room will host a project by Edmund de Waal: an exploration of the colour white. Here, he takes us through some of the objects on display.
My studio life: Edmund de Waal
We visited Edmund de Waal in his south London studio, where he told us about creating a space for both making and writing.
Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse
30 January — 20 April 2016
Using the work of Monet as a starting point, this landmark exhibition examines the role gardens played in the evolution of art from the early 1860s through to the 1920s.
From the archive
Damien Hirst in conversation with John Hoyland RA
This October, Damien Hirst opens Newport Street Gallery in Vauxhall with a show of paintings by the late John Hoyland RA. In this interview from 2009, Hoyland told Hirst about meeting Francis Bacon, and what it is to be a painter.
Thoughts on paper: the sketchbooks of Chris Wilkinson RA
Chris Wilkinson RA has continued to value hand drawing in an age where digital software prevails in architectural offices. Hugh Pearman meets him as a show opens at the RA to accompany the publication of his sketchbooks.
Become a Friend of the RA
Become a Friend of the RA today and enjoy a year of free entry to our exhibitions, including Ai Weiwei and Painting the Modern Garden. Friends can bring a family guest for free, enjoy all day access to the Keeper’s House and much more.
In the studio with Sonia Lawson RA
Despite various challenges, including a leaking roof, Sonia Lawson RA is keen to return to her garden studio, says Fiona Maddocks.
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.
10 minutes with… Tess Jaray RA
Each month we catch up with a different Royal Academician. This month, Tess Jaray RA tells us about her move away from bright colours, and how driven you need to be to be an artist.
Don’t worry what other people say about your work. Be free. That’s what art is about.
Cornelia Parker 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.
Thomas Heatherwick RA: “Inspiration is a cliché”
Thomas Heatherwick RA delights in discovering his ideas don’t work – it’s all part of a process of elimination that results in his extraordinary designs, as Sam Phillips finds out.
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
Chris Wilkinson RA and Humphrey Ocean RA on Drawing
Friday 16 October
Join two distinguished Royal Academicians – architect and painter – in a special evening of conversation, as part of our ongoing ‘Dialogues’ series.
Hard-won images: Frank Auerbach and Alberto Giacometti
The intensely wrought paintings of Frank Auerbach find their match in Giacometti’s sculptures, as two shows reveal, says Simon Wilson.
Object of the month: October 2015
After Francesco Laurana, Bust of a Woman, possibly Ippolita Maria Sforza, c. 1473
A 19th-century cast of Francesco Laurana’s bust of Maria Sforza is currently on display in the RA Library as part of Edmund de Waal’s project, ‘white’.
Artist of the month: October 2015
George Jones RA
Known as ‘Captain Jones’ by his contemporaries, George Jones RA maintained loyalty throughout his life to his two passions, the Royal Academy and the Army.
Chiaroscuro Linocut Printing with Anne Desmet RA
Learn the Renaissance method of creating the 3D illusion of tonal drawings, beloved of Albrecht Dürer, in our two-day practical course. 24—25 October 2015
Ai Weiwei’s alternative vision for Beijing’s buildings
With a display on Beijing’s Caochangdi in our Architecture Space, our curator discusses the Ai Weiwei-designed buildings of this artists’ region, and their place in a rapidly developing city.
The Waterloo Cartoon: a poem by Owen Shears
To mark the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, and the Academy’s display of Daniel Maclise RA’s extraordinary drawing, Owen Sheers writes a poem considering its significance in the context of war art.
Learn from experts and artists
Whether you’re a writer, sketcher, art enthusiast or architecture buff, discover our new range of courses and classes.
In two minds: Eddie Peake and Prem Sahib
Ahead of their solo shows this autumn, RA Schools alumni and artistic collaborators Eddie Peake and Prem Sahib describe the thought and themes behind each other’s works.
More than meets the eye: Julian Barnes on art
In his new book of essays, Julian Barnes offers insightful lessons in how to look at – and read about – art.
Explore Daniel Maclise RA's cartoon of the Battle of Waterloo
To coincide with the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo we've created an interactive image of Maclise's 13-metre wide commemorative cartoon. Our curators and conservators reveal some of the stories, details and secrets hidden within the work.
Terrace Wires: Cornelia Parker RA
From 28 May 2015
Celebrated British sculptor Cornelia Parker RA presents a new public installation in St Pancras International station.
Very rarely as an artist do you get that real ecstasy of painting – you are always chasing it.
Chantal Joffe RA
Art Sales at the RA
Our brand new collection, Works on Paper by Sculptors, has just launched. This is your chance to purchase limited editions and unique works by Royal Academicians and significant contemporary artists.
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
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.
Architecture is like writing. You have to edit it over and over so it looks effortless.
Zaha Hadid RA
Five quick tips to improve your life-drawing
The RA Schools’ Head of Sculpture and Printmaking led a life-drawing masterclass as part of our first Friends Week. Here he shares five key pieces of advice.
In the neighbourhood: Exploring Ai Weiwei’s ‘village’ in Beijing
Behind the scenes
A vibrant arts quarter has grown up around Ai Weiwei’s home and studio in Beijing. Our curator Adrian Locke explores the area, and finds himself on a journey into the city’s past.
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
Zaha Hadid RA in conversation with Alain Elkann
In this video, the eminent architect discusses her approach to her work and her thoughts on the past, present and future of architecture.
Looking for an art-lover’s gift?
Order bespoke art prints, canvases and framed reproductions from our Collection online.
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
Inside the Academy
The RA Schools
A school of contemporary fine art, right at the heart of the RA.
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.