Royal Academy of Art Summer Exhibition 2017

By: Maria Ogundele | Date 05.06.2017
If the annual Royal Academy of Art Summer Exhibition was a book, at nearly two and a half centuries old, you’d imagine it would be somewhat dusty and worn, discoloured, pretty furled around the edges, and, most definitely out of date.
Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 2016 installation view (c) David Parry
Thankfully, as you may well be aware of already, it’s actually a huge gallery-based exhibition that has been a remarkable representation of present-day happenings in the contemporary art world since its infancy. This year’s show is set to be no different.

Along with the RA’s hanging committee, Royal Academician, Eileen Cooper is co-ordinating this summer’s exhibition. Part of its uniqueness has always been that visitors can never really know what to expect from the biggest open submissions show in the world until they arrive. However, the good folk here at have done some snooping to see just what Cooper and her colleagues have in store for visitors – here’s what we can reveal…

Yinka Shonibare RA’s Wind Sculpture VI
This year's eye-catching courtyard creation is Yinka Shonibare's “Wind Sculpture VI”.The Royal Academician's bold and beautiful centrepiece is enough to leave even the most discerning of visitors fluttering uncontrollably with excitement. The notion of harnessing motion and freezing it in a moment of time is at the heart of this towering, hand painted steel sculpture - which sees a return to the artist’s use of Dutch wax textiles.

International Talent
To explore and celebrate the talents of the next generation of bright young artists, organisers have invited a host of international artists to showcase works.

Along with Hassan Hajjaj, Secundino Hernández, Tomoaki Suzuki and Mark Wallinger, American-Danish artist Julie Born Schwartz is also exhibiting. Isaac Julien will also be part of the international line-up. His 2007 film "Western Union: Small Boats" will be shown across five screens for the first time.

Royal Academicians
Each year, several Royal Academicians are asked to exhibit works from a cross range of artistic practices. Sculptor Antony Gormley, Turner Prize nominee, Sean Scully and artist Phyllida Barlow – who only really received art stardom during her 70’s - are all exhibiting at the 2017 show.

Gilbert and George have once again been called upon to show a new large-scale work from their ‘Beard Speak’ series. Work by RA favourite Bob and Roberta Smith has also been included.

Iranian-born British architect, Farshid Moussavi RA, has been chosen to curate the Architecture Gallery within the Summer Exhibition.

For the first time, this gallery will focus on construction coordination drawings to present the full complexity of a building. Works by Bjarke Ingels, Alvaro Siza, Eduardo Souto de Moura will go on display; designs by David Adjaye and Richard Rogers will also feature.

Performance Art
The Summer Exhibition has never before included elements of performance art but this year it’s set to change. It’s as much as we know at the moment, but we’ve probably revealed too much already!

The Royal Academy of Art Summer Exhibition will begin on 13 June 2017. Selected works will be available to purchase online from the venue website once the exhibition has opened.


Join our guided tours in the Tate Modern and National Gallery! Every Friday evening and Sunday afternoon a passionate art historian will present one artist or artistic movement during a relaxed one hour tour.

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The Art Academy
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Art Monthly
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The Tate Britain
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