High brow eclecticism, pseudo-avant-garde or simply what art is at; who can judge the nature of the RA’s annual summer exhibition. This was my second visit to this huge outpouring of national creativity and you certainly need several hours to do justice to it all. How proud Joe Bloggs must feel having his or her acrylic hung next to Emin’s two-minute inky figurative work, though Emin’s price tag is quite rightly over 10 times as much.
As usual with this exhibition, there was some great work, some very confusing and some (in my view) truly awful. But the RA would fail spectacularly if visitors appreciated all that was on show. This exhibition does not set out to just show us what art is now but also what it could be and I sense that the curators stir up work that pleases and challenges in equal amounts.
I’ve included what I thought were the clever and beautiful works below together with a few celebrity pieces. The lungs fashioned from black wire were topical and aesthetically mesmerising, the photograph of rows of books told a story via their titles which was novel (boom) and the simple feminist print was intriguing, mostly because of the number of print sales it gained. The lessons to be learnt, if I do enter this at some point, are to read the room, keep it small, and create something that will make people feel calm. Good luck to me.