This was our third trip down to see the annual summer exhibition at the esteemed Royal Academy. This is the world’s largest open submission show and one gets to experience the good, the great and the not so good of the art world all together in over 1600 works. I’ve had mixed impressions in the past and you have to wonder how quality can be maintained in such a large show. It always amuses me to see an Emin ink scribble being offered at over ten times the price of a clearly highly time-intensive amateur work.
This time we arrived early which is very advisable as it gives you space, peace and less high-brow artistic chatter in your ear. Most importantly, the work was great, well there were the usual odd works of questionable quality, but each room had sufficiently exciting pieces to maintain your interest. There were several we would have purchased but the earlier ‘members only’ visitors had clearly snapped them up.
My faith has been restored in the state of contemporary art as there was a rich variety of media and subject material on show. Yes, there was a smattering of traditional landscapes but the huge painting of Grenfell Tower, made murky by the inclusion of ashes from the burnt remains from the fire, was mind-blowing and shows once again that art speaks to us like nothing else.