Summer is fast approaching, so that means one thing in the art world - the Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition is nearly upon us. Opening on the 21st June, this pillar of the British Art scene has been running without fail since 1769, through two World Wars and one global pandemic. Showcasing all forms of art from painting to prints and sculpture, the Summer Exhibition is the perfect place to discover new talent.
Running for two months, the Royal Academy is host to some of the biggest names in contemporary art, as well as emerging talent from all walks of life. Each year, the Royal Academy names an exhibition coordinator to direct the show and determine the theme. This year Alison Wilding RA takes the reins, choosing the theme of ‘Climate’ to be explored in the artwork entries. Wilding and a team of Royal Academicians will review thousands of entries from both well-known and budding artists to decide what artworks will make it into the show.
Alongside the entries selected by the Academicians, some artists are invited to curate their own artworks for the show. There’s no hierarchy when it comes to curation, either. Grayson Perry’s and Tracey Emin’s are placed on the wall next to first-time exhibitors. Just because you’re a big name artist doesn’t guarantee you a slot either. Over the course of 250 years, the likes of John Constable, Édouard Manet and Banksy have been rejected from the exhibition. You don’t always have to be a professional artist to win yourself a spot either; comedians Harry Hill and Joe Lycett have both featured artworks, and Winston Churchill even exhibited under a pseudonym.
This year, Cristina Iglesias’ immersive installation will be centre stage in the courtyard of the Royal Academy in Burlington House. Iglesias tackles the theme of climate change by bringing nature into the heart of cosmopolitan London. On the theme of ‘Climate’, Wilding has said that it is a “huge, all-embracing and urgent subject” that can’t be ignored. Around 1,200 artists are putting pen to paper and creating artworks that draw attention to such a worthy cause.
Over the course of 254 years, the Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition has become a revered event in the arts calendar, and a constant reminder of the joys of art and creativity.
Having explored this year’s RA summer exhibition, we’re proud to say that many of our artists are participating in this year’s showcase. We’re delighted to see artists such as Little Fish Design, Hooksmith Press and Lene Bladjberg, to name a few, have been selected to take part in the world-renowned exhibition.
Keep your eyes peeled for any Art Republic artists taking part in this year’s show - make sure to tag us in your Instagram posts @artrepublic if you spot any artworks you recognise.