The summer exhibition has been an annual event since 1769 and is always an occasion for innovation, experiment and debate. But 2020 may prove to be its most extraordinary year yet, with the opening delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
This is the exhibition that the critics love to hate. There are lots of holiday paintings but there is also work that recognizes what is going on around us.
Professional and non-professional artists show their work alongside one another, working in different mediums, from different margins, different minorities and different groups.
The Summer Exhibition 2020 has been co-ordinated by Jane and Louise Wilson who with their team of RA members have managed to put together, despite social distancing, an exciting and thought provoking exhibition. The curators felt it important that the exhibition celebrates the artistic community who have been suffering heavily during the time of Covid, with rents still to pay and exhibitions and artists open houses being cancelled. There are 1,200 art works on show selected from 18,000 applications.
‘This the year of Black Lives Matter with a gathering of black Royal Academicians including Sonia Boyce, Frank Bowling and Yinka Shonibare. The most arresting piece is Isaac Julien’s wall-filling photographic assemblage Lessons of the Hour, London 1983 – Who Killed Colin Roach? This history painting made of black and white photographs reminds you suffering and protest have a long story to tell. Colin Roach died of a gunshot wound in the entrance of Stoke Newington police station in 1983.’ Wrote Jonathan Jones in The Guardian.
The work of Bob and Roberta Smith speaks succinctly about the world in which we are living. There is still art, there is still hope. We will get through this with art, When is Cummings going?
The exhibition is divided into different galleries, each curated by an artist. The work is a mixture of professional and amateurs. Most of the work is for sale.
This is a pic-n-mix exhibition, there is much you will like and much you will hate. The old favourites are showing including Allen Jones, Aiu Weiwei, Gillian Wearing, Eileen Cooper, Dr Barbara Rae and Ron Arad.
Ron Arad has produced a mixed media piece which in essence appears to be sections of squashed car , made from Steel, rubber and paint it is called oh Lord Won’t You Buy Me?
Aie Wiewei, with a nod to the vessels that Grayson Perry produced when he won the Turner Prize, has created large blue and white Chinese style porcelain vases, look closely and you see not the traditional idyllic images of cherry blossom and exotic birds but instead scenes of war, refugee camps and bodies.
The exhibition is on until 3rd January 2021, but currently closed for a Covid lockdown, however you can purchse works of art on line. When the gallery re-opens in order to visit you will need to pre-book.