London’s museums and galleries are always a veritable treasure trove for art lovers. This summer sees the launch of several major exhibitions, including a celebration of Johannes Vermeer at the national gallery and a landmark LS Lowry show at Tate Britain; those whose artistic appetites aren’t satisfied by the usual attractions, however, should head directly to the Royal Academy of Art, where a historic annual event commences on June 10th.
One of the founding principles of the academy, which was established in 1769, was “to mount an annual exhibition open to all artists of distinguished merit” and such a show has taken place every year since – making 2013’s Summer Exhibition, astonishingly, the 245th edition.
Claimed by academicians to be the world’s largest open-submission contemporary art show, the Summer Exhibition features over 1,000 exceptional artworks carefully selected by an expert panel of leading artists and architects.
Faced with the daunting task of narrowing down a pool of submissions that often exceeds 10,000, the panel also ensures that a diverse range of artists have their work displayed and for some of these it’ll be their first public show.
The Summer Exhibition incorporates pieces from established names too, though. Visitors will have an opportunity to see Turner prize-winner Grayson Perry’s The Vanity of Small Differences, a series of six elaborate tapestries telling a satirical tale of social mobility in Sunderland, Tunbridge Wells and the Cotswolds.
Furthermore, celebrated Ghanaian artist El Anatusi has adorned the facade of Burlington House – the Royal Academy’s premises – with one of his largest ever wall-hanging sculptures. Created exclusively for the exhibition, ‘TSIATSIA – searching for connection’ is constructed from bottle-tops, roofing sheets and other materials, and stretches an incredible 23 metres across and 15 metres high.
Exhibition entry costs £10 and Burlington House is easily accessible from most central London hotels and landmarks. Those travelling on the tube should head towards the Piccadilly Circus or Green Park stations.