Every year for the past 250 years, the Royal Academy has bravely opened its doors and allowed literally any old schmuck to have a go at getting their art on its walls. The annual Summer Exhibition is an open submission show: that means plebs and haughty fine artists alike can send in their work for consideration by a jury of Royal Academicians, who sift through thousands of works of art before choosing the best 1,300 pieces to display.
This year, the committee included Phyllida Barlow, Conrad Shawcross and Cornelia Parker and was helmed by none other than dotty potter and art world everyman Grayson Perry, who has given more space than ever to plucky, undiscovered amateurs. But it’s not all weekend paintbrush warriors: there are major works by the likes of Anish Kapoor, David Shrigley, David Hockney and Rose Wylie too. Even everyone’s favourite wall-botherer Banksy is involved, displaying a work of art made out of a Ukip placard, priced at £350m. £350m! Like the Brexit bus! More like Bants-y, amirite?
Almost everything in the Summer Exhibition is for sale, so this could be your chance to nab a bargain painting by a future superstar, or to finally invest your riches in a Tracey Emin. And this year, to help celebrate that whole 250 years of being a leading light in the UK art scene thing, the RA is taking the Summer Exhibition out into the street as well, with works by artists spilling out onto Piccadilly and Regent Street.
The Summer Exhibition is an annual highlight: 250 years of tradition, art and giving the little guy a chance. Long may it continue.
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