The Summer Exhibition is the world’s oldest open submission exhibition – which means that anyone can enter their work to be considered for inclusion. It’s happened every year since 1769, and each year an artist coordinates the exhibition. In 2019 that artist was Jock McFadyen, who took the mantle from our 2018 coordinator, Grayson Perry RA whose Summer Exhibition marked the Academy’s 250th anniversary. 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.
The works in the Summer Exhibition are selected and hung by Royal Academicians, who also exhibit works in the exhibition, creating an eclectic mix of work by established artists alongside emerging talent and first-time exhibitors. In previous years, nearly two thirds of the exhibits were by non-Academicians, £50,000 worth of prizes was awarded, and over 5,000 works were sold.
Everything you’ll see at the Summer Exhibition represents what is happening in the art world right now. It features new and recent art created by everyone, from emerging artists to the biggest names in contemporary art and architecture. Now in its 251st year, the Summer Exhibition continues in the tradition of showcasing a variety of work in all media, including painting, sculpture, photography, printmaking, architecture and film. This must-see exhibition is a unique window onto all areas of the contemporary art world.