At The Royal Academy in aid of Marie Curie Cancer Care.
The Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition is the largest open contemporary art exhibition in the world drawing together a wide range of new works by both established and emerging artists. Held annually since the Academy’s foundation in 1768, the exhibition attracts more than 200,000 visitors during its three month run.
The Co-ordinator of this year’s 248th Anniversary was the sculptor Richard Wilson. He wanted each room to have a WOW factor and he succeeded. He also wanted a theme and this he did by ‘artistic duos’ being selected throughout the galleries. There were 22 duos present in the exhibition spread throughout fourteen galleries.
The WOW in the courtyard came from SPYRE by sculptor Ron Arad, a camera which recorded guests arriving then transported the moment to a screen above the entrance. The staircase was a photographic installation with extraordinary images showing the aftermath of the Chernobyl disaster by Jane & Louise Wilson. A very Baroque atmosphere with huge chandeliers made this very interesting and thought provoking viewing while waiting to enter the Central Hall. The WOW factor here had to be FOREVER (YELLOW) an enamelled aluminium with neon & LED lamps by artistic duo Tim Noble & Sue Webster.
Gallery after gallery provided a spectacular but overwhelming showcase. The coveted Royal Academy of Arts Charles Wollaston Award, with a prize of £25,000, was awarded to Sculptor David Nash RA for BIG BLACK, a huge charred redwood, the most distinguished work in the exhibition.
An artist can submit a maximum of two works. This has not changed since the Academy’s foundation and a committee of Royal Academicians, who are all practising artists or architects, say “Yes” or “No” to each entry. It is as simple as that – even Edouard Manet and Constable were turned down at some point and Stanley Spencer had three pictures rejected.
Guests wandered freely through the galleries where champagne and canapes by Mosimann were served. Raffle tickets were on sale from Marie Curie volunteers and guests could view a silent auction placing bids using the interactive bidding system. The main auction took place in Gallery 3 however the PA system wasn’t very good, making it difficult to hear the speeches as well as auctioneer Adrian Biddell.
This Marie Curie Cancer Care event is always a fabulous evening and over the 25 years has gained more and more followers. The evening raises funds for the charity’s worthwhile work, providing high-quality specialist nursing, without charge, and giving care and support through terminal illness.