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
- 7 September 2016 — 20 February 2017 *on now
Eileen Cooper RA presents a diverse collection of works for sale by Royal Academicians including Grayson Perry, Eileen Cooper, Vanessa Jackson and Stephen Chambers alongside a number of invited artists.
Surface Cutting, the latest exhibition from Art Sales, curated by Eileen Cooper RA, celebrates the medium of wood and linocut, known as block printing. Works included in the exhibition have been made featuring a variety of block printing techniques including hand-printed traditional Japanese woodblock to laser cutting. The results are intriguing, and range from graphic, bold imagery through to intensely detailed and intimate artworks.
Artists on show include Eileen Cooper RA, Grayson Perry RA, Stephen Chambers RA, Vanessa Jackson RA, Michael Sandle RA, Martin Groß, Sara Lee, Declan Jenkins, Nana Shiomi, Pru Ainslie, Katsutoshi Yuasa, Pine Feroda, Isabel Rock, Hen Coleman, Mark Hampson, Jonathan Ashworth and Tom Hammick.
John Gibson RA: A British Sculptor in Rome
- 8 September — 18 December 2016 *on now
To mark the 150th anniversary of his death, this exhibition highlights the sculpture of John Gibson RA.
John Gibson (1790–1866) was the most successful British sculptor of his generation. Born in Conwy, Wales, he moved to Italy in 1817 and settled in Rome where he studied with the famous neoclassical sculptor Antonio Canova before setting up his own studio in the city. By the time he made his first return visit to the UK in 1844, ‘Gibson of Rome’ was a famous artist and soon became one of Prince Albert’s favourite sculptors, producing several portraits of Queen Victoria.
Timed to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Gibson’s death, this display presents a selection of more than 30 works from Gibson’s important bequest to the Royal Academy. These include marble sculptures like his Narcissus, plaster reliefs such as The Meeting of Hero and Leander as well as drawings from his studio. Despite the status that Gibson enjoyed during his lifetime, his reputation faded during the 20th century and this will be the first temporary exhibition to focus solely on his work.
- Family friendly
Complimentary entry with a valid Royal Academy exhibition ticket or £3 General Admission ticket. Friends of the RA and under 16s go free.
- 24 September 2016 — 2 January 2017 *on now
Abstract Expressionism will forever be associated with the energy and vibrancy of 1950s New York. Artists like Pollock, Rothko and de Kooning injected a new sense of confidence in painting, experimenting with improvisation, spontaneity and colour.
This ambitious and long overdue exhibition will bring together some of the finest works associated with the movement from around the world.
London has seen retrospectives of the most famous proponents of Abstract Expressionism over the decades, but this is the first time since 1959 that the movement as a whole will be represented in one landmark show. It is an opportunity for us re-evaluate an artistic phenomenon, and make the case that far from being unified, Abstract Expressionism was in fact far more complex and ever-changing.
In addition to featuring work of the most celebrated artists associated with the movement: Kline, Pollock, Rothko, Newman, Still, de Kooning, Smith, Reinhardt and Gorky, we will also display work by lesser-known – but no less influential – artists to reveal the extraordinary breadth of a movement that gave New York City an artistic identity for the first time.
- Any age
£16.50 (without donation £15). Concessions available. Friends of the RA and under 16s go free.
Origins: A Project by Ordinary Architecture
- 15 October 2016 — 15 January 2017 *on now
This Autumn the RA has commissioned Ordinary Architecture to create a series of interventions around Burlington House that offer an intriguing contemporary counterpoint to the ‘origin myths’ of architecture.
The history of architecture is full of ‘origin myths’: stories of how and where architecture began. These range from the eighteenth-century idea of the ‘primitive hut’, to nineteenth-century interests in animal skins and fabrics, and modernist conceptions of space. What makes these myths important is the way they describe the point at which architecture becomes culture, when the act of building becomes imbued with cultural meanings that can be read and interpreted.
Origins takes these myths as the starting-point for a series of interventions around Burlington House, intended to pose a new, provocative allegory of the foundations of contemporary architecture. Several of the interventions occupy prominent spaces that are currently empty or in transition owing to the ongoing RA250 project, thus forging an intriguing dialogue with the building’s own history. Other interventions can be found in lesser known or often overlooked parts of the building, inviting viewers to look again at how we understand and experience the spaces we occupy.
Realised through a number of techniques and materials, the interventions are grouped according to particular themes, which together pose a new set of ‘origin myths’ of architecture. Embracing the creative possibilities of erroneous theories, misunderstood histories, personal mythologies and speculative wild goose chases, Origins offers a powerful new perspective on the myths, conventions and histories that guide how architecture is both created and experienced.
- Family friendly
Intrigue: James Ensor by Luc Tuymans
- 29 October 2016 — 29 January 2017 *on now
The theatrical, the satirical and the macabre come together in arresting fashion in the art of James Ensor. Curated by Luc Tuymans, this exhibition will present a truly original body of work, seen through the eyes of one of today’s leading painters.
Despite spending his whole professional life in the Belgian seaside town of Ostend, James Ensor was very successful in his lifetime and exerted considerable influence on the development of Expressionism. An innovator and an outsider, he rebelled against the conservative art teachings of the late 19th century academy in Brussels, drawn instead to the avant-garde salons where his radical creative vision could thrive.
Ensor’s childhood spent among the fantastical treasures of his family’s curiosity shop offers a clue as to how the seeds of this wild imagination were sown. The imagery of masks and carnivals runs through much of his work, from vibrant colours and flamboyant costumes to an ever-present sense of drama and satire.
- Any age
£11.50 (without donation £10). Concessions available. Friends of the RA and under 16s go free.
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.
Premiums: Interim Projects 2017
- 27 January — 5 February 2017
Premiums: Interim Projects features the work of artists at the midpoint of their studies at the RA Schools. This annual exhibition provides an opportunity to see up-to-the-minute work by emerging artists at a time when their practice is still developing.
Innovative and surprising, Premiums reflects the diversity of practice at the RA Schools and features photography, painting and sculpture alongside video, installation and live performance.
The RA Schools is a contemporary school of fine art at the heart of the Royal Academy. Former students include J. M. W. Turner, William Blake and John Everett Millais, all the way to rising stars like Turner Prize nominee Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, Eddie Peake, Catherine Story and Matthew Darbyshire. Almost 250 years after its foundation, today it continues to be the only art school in Britain to offer a free, three-year postgraduate programme to promising artists.
Revolution: Russian Art 1917–1932
- 11 February — 17 April 2017
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