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 a Royal Academician, such as Yinka Shonibare RA, Grayson Perry RA and Jock McFadyen RA, coordinates the exhibition.
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 more than 250-years-old, 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.
Since 2015 all of the works in the Summer Exhibition have been available to browse online with our Summer Exhibition Explorer, with many of the pieces available to purchase.