The Royal Academy of Arts’ ever popular Summer Exhibition is back again — a strange hybrid of art fair and curated exhibition, featuring many established artists and a healthy dose of young up and comers.
With most of the 1,200+ works for sale, this year’s show has been curated by Royal Academician Richard Wilson. But can he put his own signature to the proceedings, like Michael Craig-Martin and Cornelia Parker before him?
We start promisingly with Ron Arad’s giant metal spike surveying us in the courtyard. It moves around with a camera on the end, and it’s very disconcerting.
The architecture room is good as always, with plenty of concepts featuring radical building and structure designs. This year it’s much better located, in a side gallery rather than in the middle. This way it feels less disruptive to the flow of fine art.
The photography is particularly strong this year; we really liked the post-apocalyptic visions by Suzanne Moxhay. And there is a dedicated room to the excellent water tower series by Bernd and Hilla Becher.
Once again it’s amazing how spacious the exhibition feels, despite there being so many works on display.
Richard Wilson has done a solid job in trying to create order from the artistic chaos, but unlike his predecessors he hasn’t imbued this year’s exhibition with a unique stamp to make it stand out.
The Summer Exhibition is on at Royal Academy of Arts until 21 August. Tickets are £12 for adults, concessions available.