Listen up! The Summer Exhibition is here

Installation view of the Summer Exhibition 2021 at the Royal Academy of Arts, London,

Installation view of the Summer Exhibition 2021 at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, 22 September 2021 — 2 January 2022. Photo: © Royal Academy of Arts, London / David Parry

 

This year, the Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition – the world’s largest open submission contemporary art show – expands beyond the spatial and visual with a sound programme. It’s also been delayed for the second time in its long history (it has taken place every year without interruption since 1769) until the autumn due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The programme for the 253rd Summer Exhibition, which is intended to be played through personal headphones to enhance the experience, includes soundscapes and poetry by six artists as well as the usual impressive contemporary art and architecture.

Yinka Shonibare RA is this year’s co-ordinator and hopes to celebrate the joy of creating art through the theme of ‘Reclaiming Magic’. Shonibare said: “This exhibition seeks a return to the visceral aspects and the sheer joy of art making. It will celebrate the transformative powers of the magical in art and transcend the Western canon which formed the foundations of the Royal Academy, seeking to restore value to marginalised practices as equally valid forms of enlightenment.”

The exhibition is anchored to a special dedication to the self-taught American artist Bill Traylor (1853 – 1949) who was born into slavery and only began to draw his recollections and observations in 1939.

 

Installation view of the Summer Exhibition 2021 at the Royal Academy of Arts, London,

Photo: © Royal Academy of Arts, London / David Parry

Installation view of the Summer Exhibition 2021 at the Royal Academy of Arts, London

Photo: © Royal Academy of Arts, London / David Parry

 

Alvaro Barrington, Angela de la Cruz, Hew Locke and Cassi Namoda have also created new work for the exhibition and Lawrence Lemaoana has created a large-scale textile kanga.

David Adjaye RA, who was unable to take part in last year’s exhibition due to the pandemic, has curated this year’s Architecture Room. It considers architecture through the expression of climate and geography, just in time for the UN Climate Change Conference, COP26, that’s heading to Glasgow.

You can see the Summer Exhibition until Sunday, 2 January 2022. Advance booking is essential for everyone, including Friends of the RA. Visit www.royalacademy.org.uk to book tickets.

 

Installation view of the Summer Exhibition 2021 at the Royal Academy of Arts, London

Photo: © Royal Academy of Arts, London / David Parry

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