Royal Academy of Arts
The Royal Academy of Arts was founded by George III in 1768. Governed by artists to 'promote the arts of design' and was the first institution in Great Britain devoted solely to the promotion of the visual arts. The Royal Academy raised the standing of art, artists and architecture. It has held an annual selling exhibition since its formation and held its first loan exhibition in 1870 of 'Ancient Masters'. It now enjoys an unrivalled reputation as a venue for exhibitions of international importance.
Varies with each exhibition
- Museums Association
Academicians in Focus: Olwyn Bowey RA
- 3 November 2016 — 27 March 2017 *on now
The Royal Academy is delighted to present an intimate display of recent work by Senior Academician Olwyn Bowey as part of the ‘Academicians in Focus’ series.
Olwyn Bowey RA has devoted her career to the study of nature. Dynamic and rigorous, her vibrant and distinctive studies of potted plants and windblown trees are infused with the passion of an artist who works in isolation.
Central to her practice are West Dean greenhouses in Sussex. Discovered by Bowey by chance, she has worked intensively through all seasons to capture the structures’ traditional Victorian architecture and perspective, as well as the specimens cultivated within. “I see a plant that could provide a focal point, and I love that contrast with the regularity of architecture.”
Also shown are Bowey’s first digital limited editions. Produced in the RA Schools, this pair of prints has allowed the artist to experiment with various digital mark-making techniques to generate new work based on her pencil drawings. A selection of the artist’s unframed pencil drawings are also available for sale online.
Elected Royal Academician in 1970, Bowey is also an Honorary Member of the Royal Society of British Artists, the Royal West of England Academy and an Associate of the Royal College of Art. She lives and works in Sussex.
Revolution: Russian Art 1917–1932
- 11 February — 17 April 2017 *on now
One hundred years on from the Russian Revolution, this powerful exhibition explores one of the most momentous periods in modern world history through the lens of its groundbreaking art.
Renowned artists including Kandinsky, Malevich, Chagall and Rodchenko were among those to live through the fateful events of 1917, which ended centuries of Tsarist rule and shook Russian society to its foundations.
Amidst the tumult, the arts initially thrived as debates swirled over what form a new “people’s” art should take. But the optimism was not to last: by the end of 1932, Stalin’s brutal suppression had drawn the curtain down on creative freedom.
Taking inspiration from a remarkable exhibition shown in Russia just before Stalin’s clampdown, we will mark the historic centenary by focusing on the 15-year period between 1917 and 1932 when possibilities seemed limitless and Russian art flourished across every medium.
This far-ranging exhibition will – for the first time – survey the entire artistic landscape of post-Revolutionary Russia, encompassing Kandinsky’s boldly innovative compositions, the dynamic abstractions of Malevich and the Suprematists, and the emergence of Socialist Realism, which would come to define Communist art as the only style accepted by the regime.
We will also include photography, sculpture, filmmaking by pioneers such as Eisenstein, and evocative propaganda posters from what was a golden era for graphic design. The human experience will be brought to life with a full-scale recreation of an apartment designed for communal living, and with everyday objects ranging from ration coupons and textiles to brilliantly original Soviet porcelain.
Revolutionary in their own right, together these works capture both the idealistic aspirations and the harsh reality of the Revolution and its aftermath.
- Family friendly
£18 (without donation £16). Concessions available. Friends of the RA and under 16s go free.
America after the Fall: Painting in the 1930s
- 25 February — 4 June 2017
The art of 1930s America tells the story of a nation in flux. Artists responded to rapid social change and economic anxiety with some of the 20th century’s most powerful art - brought together now in this once-in-a-generation show.
These 45 truly iconic works paint an electrifying portrait of this transformative period. These are works which have rarely been seen together, by artists ranging from Jackson Pollock, Georgia O’Keeffe and Edward Hopper to Thomas Hart Benton, Philip Guston and more. Perhaps the most celebrated work of them all, Grant Wood’s iconic American Gothic (1930), has never left North American shores before.
In the devastating wake of the Wall Street Crash, artists sought to capture the changes in urbanisation, industrialisation and immigration that pulsed across the country, resulting in one of the most vital periods for American artists in the 20th century. This was a decade like no other that saw them search for an elusive ‘Americanness’ through realism, populism and abstraction, rural and urban themes, the farm, the new, the traditional.
As Franklin D. Roosevelt said: “Art is not a treasure in the past or an importation from another land, but part of the present life of all living and creating peoples.” So experience the life of 1930s America through the many masterpieces in this landmark show.
£13.50 (without donation £12). Concessions available. Friends of the RA and under 16s go free
Summer Exhibition 2017
- 12 June — 20 August 2017
Everything you’ll see at the Summer Exhibition represents what is happening in the art world right now. New and recent art created by everyone from emerging artists to the biggest names in contemporary art and architecture.
The Royal Academy’s annual Summer Exhibition is the world’s largest open submission contemporary art show. Now in its 249th year, the Summer Exhibition provides a unique platform for emerging and established artists to showcase works across painting and printmaking, photography, sculpture, architecture and film.
RA Schools Show 2017
- 22 June — 2 July 2017
With its roots in RA heritage but its focus firmly fixed on the here and now, the RA Schools Show is a highlight of the contemporary art calendar.
This is the annual exhibition of works by final year students at the RA Schools. Each year the RA Schools accepts no more than 17 students, representing some of the exceptional emerging artists working today. This free exhibition is the culmination of their time here. In a rare opportunity for visitors, we open up our historic studios – normally hidden from public view – to exhibit painting, sculpture, video, installation and live events.
The RA Schools offers a free postgraduate programme in contemporary art. Former students include J. M. W. Turner, William Blake and John Everett Millais, all the way to Turner Prize nominee Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, Eddie Peake, Catherine Story and Matthew Darbyshire. Established in 1769 and still independent, it is the longest-running art school in Britain and continues to fulfil its founding aim to support and train the next generation of artists.
Matisse in the Studio
- 5 August — 12 November 2017
Step into the studio of Henri Matisse, brimming with the artist’s treasured objects. Focusing exclusively on their important role in his work for the first time, we will reveal how this eclectic collection took on new life in his transcendent art.
Matisse drew his collection from the far corners of the world: Buddhist statuary from Thailand, Bamana figures from Mali, textiles from Polynesia. Rarely of material value, these objects were nonetheless precious. Offering points of departure to which he could return again and again, they appear in his work in different guises and across spans of decades, reinvented afresh in each new setting.
Matisse’s objects formed his repertoire, but they also provided him with influences from beyond the limits of Western art. African sculpture and masks were a revelation, suggesting more expressive models for depicting the human figure and face. Later, Matisse adorned his Nice studio with props from the Islamic world to create the sensuous sets for his ‘odalisques’, in which a harmonious synergy emerges between figure and object. And as his oeuvre reached its joyous apex in his cut-out period, he looked to the concise precision of Chinese calligraphy and African textiles as he sought to invent his own simplified language of signs.
This sumptuous exhibition offers a rare glimpse into the artist’s personal collection, as well as the paintings, sculptures and drawings it inspired. Seen together, they reveal how Matisse’s masterful vision of richness, balance and vital, fluid energy first stemmed from the collage of patterns and rhythms which he found in the world of objects.
- 23 September — 10 December 2017
Jasper Johns is regarded as one of the most important artists of the 20th century, and has remained central to American contemporary art since his arrival in New York in the 1950s.
There is no-one is more fitting than Johns to take up the mantle from the likes of Ai Weiwei and Anselm Kiefer for our single artist, Main Galleries shows. As one critic wrote, “few living artists have influenced the course of art as profoundly as Johns” (Evening Standard).
His treatment of iconography and appropriation of objects and symbols, such as his iconic flag and target works, made the familiar unfamiliar. The exhibition brings together the artist’s paintings, sculptures, prints and drawings. From his innovations in sculpture to his use of collage in paintings, the exhibition will give focus to different chapters of Johns’ career.
Dalí / Duchamp
- 7 October 2017 — 7 January 2018
Take another look at two artistic giants: father of conceptual art Marcel Duchamp, and larger-than-life Surrealist Salvador Dalí. This is the first exhibition to throw light on their surprising relationship and its influence on the work of both artists.
On the surface, these two great 20th-century artists could hardly be more dissimilar, but Dalí and Duchamp maintained a lasting bond of friendship and mutual admiration throughout their careers.
What fuelled this seemingly unlikely friendship was deeper than their shared artistic interests – amongst them eroticism, language, optics and games. More fundamentally, the two men were united by a combination of humour and scepticism which led both, in different ways, to challenge conventional views of art and life.
This original exhibition brings together around 60 works, including some of Dalí’s most inspired and technically accomplished paintings and sculptures, and Duchamp’s groundbreaking assemblages and readymades. But it will also showcase the less familiar: photographs by Dalí, paintings by Duchamp, correspondence and collaborations between the two artists.
Presented as a conversation taking place through art, this focused exploration offers fresh ways of looking at two figures, radically revising their familiar places in art history. Through the lens of their intriguing friendship, visitors will gain a new perspective on two equally inventive, intelligent and irreverent minds.
Royal Academy of Arts
020 7300 8000