Sunday, 11 August 2013

Review: The Summer Exhibition, The Royal Academy

A visit to the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy, Piccadilly Circus is always a conflicting experience. On the one hand there's the overly earnest art aficionados thumbing through the price guide as if it were their cheque book and making banal observations, on the other there is the sheer joy of seeing the everyman artistry on display.

While I'm sure there's plenty of back slapping, favouritism and nepotism in the selection of the pieces which go on display at the annual exhibition, there's plenty of raw talent too. Wandering the halls of one of London's most grandiose galleries you get to see Tate Moss' painting of a desolate abandoned building alongside another depicting a building as a crazy golf course and a snakes and ladders board with film directors on. 

Elsewhere among the 1,200 works there's Ron Arad's sculpture of a Fiat 500 and a fantastic photo of a bloke sat on a bench in St James's Park alongside one of its famous pelicans. Easily the most astonishing work was Grayson Perry's modern tapestries - a room featuring six large tapestries depicting the downfall iPhone wielding technology magnate Rakefield which is startling in how vivid it is in traditionally a dour medium. 

The 245th Summer Exhibition offers an eclecticism rarely seen anywhere in the country bringing together vastly disparate mediums. An old girlfriend of mine often toyed with the idea of entering and I hope she eventually did because there's such a breadth of work here that no one can fail to be inspired.

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