If you’ve got a few hundred thousand pounds lying around at the moment, or, like me, you’d like to daydream about how you would spend hundreds of thousands of pounds bedecking the walls of your fantasy mansion with beautiful artworks, then head down to the Royal Academy now. The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 2011 is on until 15 August and, unlike most shows in public galleries, you can buy almost every piece of art on display.
The annual Summer Exhibition also differs from regular art shows in that any artist can submit a work in the hope of being selected. Around 10 per cent of the 12,000 entries every year are selected and any medium is allowed, although paintings make up the majority of the works this year. So you get a mix of famous names like Tracey Emin and Antony Gormley alongside complete unknowns.
Having never been to the Summer Exhibition before (with no good excuse – I’ve been in London for four years and the Exhibition was been running since 1768) when I went last Friday night I was surprised at quite how, well, messy, it was. While your average Tate Modern show might have thirty paintings spread over 6 rooms, here the 1117 artworks are crammed on the walls, twenty or thirty at a time, reaching from floor to ceiling. I actually loved the way that it made me concentrate more to seek out the pieces I enjoyed the most, before adding them to my imaginary shopping list. Top of that list is Keith Dyson‘s expansive Deep Impact (below), a painting for which the word saturnine seems invented. With a £270,0000 price tag, I think it’s going to have to stay on the wall of my fantasy mansion for a bit longer.
The Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition runs until 15 August 2011. For tickets and more info see the Royal Academy of Arts website.