The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition

The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition is once again promising to be one of the highlights of the London cultural season. Peter Gray reports.

The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 2019

Denounced by one particular UK newspaper as being a sort of ‘glorified car boot sale’ the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition (RASE) has nonetheless been delighting art lovers for the last 250 years.

The newspaper criticised the Royal Academy for having the temerity to sell some of the exhibits, however, the fact remains that the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition remains the largest open submission exhibition in the world.

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In the last couple of years the exhibition has fallen foul of the pandemic having to be moved to a winter slot due to the many and varied regulations and restrictions during the period. Now back in its traditional mid summer slot, however, the RASE is ready to make waves once again.

Over 1,200 works by a dizzying range of artists are showcased at the event every year and although the exhibits do vary in quality (some believe this to be part of the exhibition’s charm) RASE regularly includes work by some of the country’s leading artists.

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Most major UK galleries restrict themselves to the same narrow circle of artists and art each year in the belief that it is the big established names that the public wishes to see. Whether true or not, this means that UK art lovers very rarely see works by so called “lesser” artists – works which might challenge the visitor’s own perceptions of what is good.

However, the beauty of the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition is that the show’s organisers never insult the public’s intelligence by assuming they know what we like. On the contrary, the exhibition achieves the far more difficult task of leaving their visitors to come to their own conclusions. In this writer’s opinion, this is what makes this seemingly antiquated old chestnut as relevant today as it has ever been.

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This year’s Royal Academy Summer Exhibition will take place between the 21st of June and the 21st of August 2022. For more information on the exhibition, please click here.

For information on other art events in London, please click here. 

-London's Best Events-
What: art exhibition
When: 21 Jun - 21 Aug 22
Where: The Royal Academy