Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts

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It is hard to believe that the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts has been running for 243 years! 

Each year it showcases a selection of art from established and emerging artists chosen from more than 12,000 pieces, all hoping for a place at this prestigious art show. The result is a superb array of paintings, photography, sculpture and film to brighten your day – even if the weather does not match it!

The fantastic sculpture by Jeff Koons that greets visitors as they walk into the RA courtyard is a personal favourite as we loved the warm, cheery feelings that it evokes and it sets the tone for the rest of the exhibition.

The Summer Exhibition gives visitors an unrivalled variety of art. Each room is jam-packed with art: big art, miniscule art, art in boxes, art hanging from the ceiling, minimal art, immensely detailed art, kinetic artworks, modern sculpture sitting alongside impressionist-styled painting, surrealism standing alongside new architecture and plenty more.

At first we found it odd that the myriad works in the gallery weren’t accompanied by individual explanations or titles. After a few minutes we realised why; The focus of the exhibition is on the artwork rather than the explanation. We are granted a short overview in each room but that’s it.

Favourite pieces include Simon Brundret’s Dog In a Bin which shows a life-size moving dog sculpture rummaging for food in a rubbish bin and a beautiful oil painting of London by Ken Howard titled Rain Effect In The City.

It’s rare to be afforded the privilege of experiencing works by established modern artists such as Tracey Emin and Anish Kapoor alongside emerging talent. This is one exhibition where, like London, there really is something to suit all tastes.

Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts until 15 Aug 2011. Book tickets


  1. Lettice says:

    The Summer Exhibition is always brilliant. Can’t wait to see it!

  2. Jenny says:

    Love that Jeff Koons sculpture.

  3. riitaa says:

    Amazing Jeff Koons sculpture.

  4. ContraryMary says:

    Visited the summer exhibition on Wednesday and struggled to engage with it because I thought the quality was poor.

    There were a few pieces which were the product of intelligent thought or showed great skill. The majority were not of the standard one would expect from an exhibition of this calibre.

    This is not knocking modern art. Conceptual modern art is exciting as is skilled traditional art. Neither was particularly well represented in this show.

    But it is always interesting to visit the exhibition. This year’s disappointing selection will make next year’s show look better. This exhibition is not an accurate reflection of the fantastic London arts scene.