Summer Exhibition 2020
6 October 2020 — 3 January 2021
Royal Academy of Arts, 2020
For the first time in history, the Summer Exhibition will fall in winter. But at the RA, summer is a state of mind, not a time of year. Discover a myriad of works by household names and emerging artists inside our joyous festival of art.252 years ago, a group of artists made it their mission to form an annual exhibition to support artists and architects, by showcasing art of the moment to the nation. The Summer Exhibition has run uninterrupted ever since: a backdrop to famous artistic rivalries of the past and now a fixture of the summer calendar for art seekers, year after year. Coordinated by artistic duo Jane and Louise Wilson RA, this autumn is set to be just as uplifting – you are sure to see art you love, art you hate, and art that puts a smile on your face. You might even find art to take home. This year’s exhibition includes new works by Tracey Emin, Rebecca Horn, Anselm Kiefer, Julian Schnabel, Gillian Wearing and Ai Weiwei. At this exhibition I will be exhibiting two most detailed linocuts I have made this year. The Arrow maiden and Story of Two Mountains.
Summer Exhibition review:
Autumn edition of Royal Academy show opens with moving call to right racial imbalances
What a rupture: the Summer Exhibition, more than 250 years old, moved to autumn and winter. But within the show is a more significant shift. Organised by video-art twins Jane and Louise Wilson, it has the most distinctive opening to a summer show I can remember.
The Wilsons judiciously offered the opening rooms to the artist Isaac Julien, whose homage to Okwui Enwezor, the Nigerian curator who died last year, evokes Enwezor’s dismantling of systemic racial biases as a clarion call for this moment — every artist in these first two rooms is black.
There’s a dark yet shimmering El Anatsui wall-hanging, a luminous Frank Bowling canvas, a vigorous and energetic abstract by Oscar Murillo. Next door, a huge, collage-painting by Njideka Akunyili Crosby, a stunning triptych by Chris Ofili, and sinuous, magical sculptures by Wangechi Mutu. It’s uplifting, even moving, to see this bastion of the art establishment grappling with its historical imbalances. But this should be a manifesto, not a one-off.
Normal service is resumed elsehwere — amateurs and professionals, inspirational and execrable art, cheek-by-jowl. A sculpture room curated by Richard Deacon wisely embraces the chaos, but most of the displays are jarring and ropey.
Yet, in our fraught, uncertain present, I found the usually infuriating hallmarks of every Summer Exhibition — tame Venice paintings, polite abstracts, middling portraits — oddly comforting.
October 6 to January 3, 2021
Luke, B., 2020. Summer Exhibition review: Autumn edition of Royal Academy show opens with moving call to right racial imbalances. Standard, [online] Available at: <>
2020 Summer Exhibition in 90 Seconds
More than 1,000 works across over 3,000 square metres… step inside the RA’s Main Galleries for a quick zip around the Summer Exhibition 2020.
Royal Academy of Arts 2020
Royal Academy of Arts 2020
Inside the Summer Exhibition with Jane and Louise Wilson RA
Join coordinators Jane and Louise Wilson RA as they introduce the 252nd Summer Exhibition and discuss the difficulties of putting it all together during a pandemic. Book now for the #SummerNotSummer Exhibition: https://roy.ac/sgphg
Short glimpse to the exhibition
The Royal Academy of Arts is an art institution based in Burlington House on Piccadilly in London. Founded in 1768, it has a unique position as an independent, privately funded institution led by eminent artists and architects.
Visiting London Guide, 2020