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The Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition is back for its 255th edition. Arguably the world’s largest open submission exhibition (which means anyone can enter their work to be considered for inclusion), it has been running every year since 1769. Submissions are non-restrictive of age, country or status in the art world.

Moreover, The Summer Exhibition is also among a few major art shows with the bulk of the pieces available for purchase. The money earned helps the Royal Academy’s work as well as the exhibiting artists, postgraduate students studying there, and other RA Schools students.

Only Connect

This year’s exhibition was coordinated by British artist and Royal Academician David Remfry, who explores the theme of Only Connect, inspired by a quote from the novel Howards End by E. M. Forster. Remfry explained “Only Connect can be as simple or as complex as you like – as simple as putting a plug into a socket, as meeting a friend for a coffee or the fabric of the entire cosmos”.

In Howards End, E. M. Forster’s 1910 novel, the phrase ‘Only Connect’ meant a connection between the spiritual and the quotidian; I use it to mean a connection between oneself and everything else.”

There’s something for everyone

While other museums and galleries such as the Tate or the Met are run by academics, the Royal Academy’s tradition of an artist-centred administration establishes it as an institution unlike any other. Reflecting this approach, The Summer Exhibition provides a platform for established and emerging artists to display their work to a broad audience, including art collectors, critics, and the public.

Among the 1,614 featured works – from miniature paintings to enormous canvases, architectural models to photography – you will find towering sculptures by the late Phyllida Barlow RA, Richard Malone’s dramatic mobile installation in the Wohl Central Hall, and a witty painting by comedian Joe Lycett. Plus pieces by Tracey Emin RA, Hew Locke RA, Barbara Walker RA, Gavin Turk, Lindsey Mendick, Caroline Walker and much, much more.

Travel with Style’s choice

We would recommend to take a closer look at Sculptural Artificial Intelligence (AI) future prediction simulator. The device named Oracle is intended to generate the dates for the realisation of human-level machine intelligence, super-intelligence and the outcome for humanity within 30 years. It’s very tempting to play this game of chance driven by the outcome of three spinning wheels. Or maybe less we know the better.

Another interesting piece is a kinetic sculpture titled ‘It Takes a Village to Raise a Child by British scrap artist and roboticist Giles Walker who has been making provocative art robots for over 30 years. Less though provoking but definitely entertaining is giant fibreglass flattened Donald Trump Helmet Head or Queen’s head with anarchy symbol tattoo on the neck; banana shoes made of porcelain would also cheer you up.

Each room is its own experience, with different coloured walls and a new assortment of seemingly unrelated artworks covering every inch of available space, so make sure you give yourself plenty of time to see everything – it’s definitely not an exhibition that can be whizzed through in half an hour.

Summer Exhibition 2023 is open to the public in the Main Galleries from 13 June until 20 August.

Tickets are available here.


Image credits: © Royal Academy of Arts, London / David Parry