What is Contemporary art? Appreciating the Royal Academy’s Summer exhibition!

Are you perplexed by modern art? Why are some pieces – where the skill is awe inspiring – barely recognised? Whilst what can only be described as random daubs of paint on a canvas sell for thousands of pounds/dollars?

Me too!

In an endeavour to broaden my horizons, I visited the Royal Academy’s Summer exhibition. My conclusion? 50% of the works sucked… big time!

Possibly the worst, a half torn off strip of masking tape in the middle of a canvas with a scribble  of paint above  – had actually been sold for £5000.

What’s the message? I’m going to see how little I can do and how much someone mug will pay for it? I won’t give the artist’s name as I suspect it was only done to increase the notoriety of the particular “artist” – I use the term loosely. You probably know the name- it’s a celebrity. But celebrity does not always equate with talent? I refer you to Brian Sewell’s vitriolic review of the whole show here!

Fortunately there was plenty of talent to be seen, but you had to look for it.

Photographing the exhibits is prohibited so I’ve had to trawl internet pages for my favourites. “Landfill”  a collage piece by Terry Setch  and a fabulous figure walking towards a cross along the back of a knife blade – have evaded me! If you can find an image, please let me know?

This Grayson Perry’s urn was stunning.


Then there the wonderful Silver Streak by David Mach.

David Mach's Silver Streak

I love the ingenuity! It’s made entirely out of wire coat hangers fused together! The fuzziness is created by all the hooks.

I could have spent hours in the architecture room. Amazing models made from books. An Escher style building constructed in a lampshade. Exquisite bridges simply and elegantly designed. Playful creations made from Lego! I could go on, the scope was vast!

Archtecture room Summer exhibition

I was pleasantly surprised by Jane Harris’s ‘Divine’. Which was better “in the flesh” The effect achieved purely by the texture of the brushstrokes. Not sure I would class it as “Great” art but it certainly demonstrates some skill.

'Divine' by Jane Harris, 2005-2009.

These black sunflowers were fabulous and also relied heavily on the wrinkled texture of dried oil paint.

 Mark Alexander Black Van Gogh's sunflowers

I struggled with the video art. I’m not saying the images weren’t good but I couldn’t sit and watch them once again, never mind repeatedly!

So was I inspired? Despite a disappointing show overall, Yes! There is great art to be seen, it’s just that not all you see is great art!

Oh, and by the way, I know what I’m, entering for next year’s competition!

Would you like to know?

That would be telling!

About CathyReadArt

Artist creating abstract art using mixed media. I believe there should be beauty in art, but sometimes it takes an artist to show others what is truly beautiful.
This entry was posted in Artistic development, Exhibitions, Gallery, Musings, Royal Academy and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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