13 Jun, 2009

Summer show at the Royal Academy

Posted by: admin In: Guardian

Royal Academy, London

This exhibition filled me with a profound melancholy and disgust. It poisoned my day. It keeps trying to change, adding younger artists, more fashionable media – there’s even a film and video salon. But none of the changes work. Look for the positive, I told myself. Well, I tried.

Every half-decent work in the Royal Academy’s Summer Show seems to have an award citation attached to it, like a prize pig at an agricultural show. But they forgot to hand out rosettes to Tracey Emin and the great Catalan painter Antoni Tàpies, who both stand out. Emin must be some kind of genius to raise my spirits in this setting. There are also two terrific prints by Paula Rego; a gigantic enclosed box by Anselm Kiefer, whose painting of a Grimm forest – with real branches and tottering concrete towers – imposes his unique vision; and a painting from Cy Twombly’s romantic series The Rose.

But in the end, honoured guests such as Kiefer and Twombly are used by the Summer Show to try to disguise what it really is: a boozy club for old farts who flatter themselves that they belong in the same room as modern masters. The room that contains Kiefer and Tàpies is curated by Allen Jones, the 1960s artist once notorious for putting women – to plagiarise Woody Allen – under pedestals. Now what do Jones, and the other Academicians who have selected rooms, actually think? That they’re really in the same league as Anselm Kiefer? See what I mean about boozy – they’d have to be pissed to make that claim.

The Summer Show demonstrates that art is not a democracy. Merge every style and every level of achievement, and what you get is a genteel, civilised, very British hell. All artists are dead when they enter this exhibition. The most vibrant talent sinks into a state of suspended animation so as not to offend the walking corpses. I went looking for the good, and the artists I’ve mentioned are all excellent. But on the wall of a desolate Torquay hotel.

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2009 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

Read the original post on Guardian Arts & Architecture

No Responses to "Summer show at the Royal Academy"

Comment Form


Flickr PhotoStream

    Fairy of the middle of Winter/ Яварь Середина-Зимыnozzle head trioLars MikkelsenCountry house and waterfalls - The majolica cloister of Santa Chiara in Naples (years 1739-1742) - Architect Domenico Antonio Vaccaro - Painters Giuseppe and Donato MassaCyborg Dude with Autodesk Sketchbook Pro & iPadKnock Out Game175. The Carlyle Hotel, South BeachPájaro N°3Quasi PrimaveraFfunny FfriendsCatch!American DreamA Blessing


HaggBridge.com brings you a daily update of news from art world, focused on UK based artists, exhibitions, and galleries.