Tuesday, August 23, 2011


The Culture Show is an interesting cultural program on TV that we are able to watch online - unfortunately they don't have regular shows throughout the year. Culture doesn't cease to exist and evolve and this is a show that is truly informative! Yesterday we saw a show that was dedicated to the major summer exhibition at The Royal Academy of Arts in London. We will probably not have the opportunity to visit it but I will still offer some opinions on the basis of what we saw in the program, nicely commented upon by Alastair Sooke ( see video ). This summer's exhibition is the 243th and, therefore already an institution.

Anyone can participate in the exhibition and this year the jury had more than 1,200 works to plow through. It thus becomes a smorgasbord of many hundreds of works, and although it is notoriously difficult to enter, there are artists who have submitted their works for years on end. PJ Crooke is one of them - she has been accepted 12 times! Her art is reminiscent of Henri Rousseau and seems more meaningful  than most other works that fought for wall space, at least at first glance. Her world is a fantasy world with dreamy elements that might encompass some symbolic meaning. Unfortunately, I found no work on the web. With the reservation that all art forms are likely to be represented in the exhibition, I am nonetheless pleased that this type of art has its place in the big picture. Most of what is exhibited is obviously only about being "clever" and not much else.

As far as I could see from the program,  numerous pieces of art were nauseatingly bad and it seems the critics agree. One must wade through a lot of junk in order to find the gems. I did however feel that the works hailed by critics were noteworthy, innovative, and owned a certain aesthetic sense, yet  one might have to look for deeper significance. Though I really appreciate exciting artistic ideas and innovation, I am deeply disappointed at how uninterested art connoisseurs seem to be in discussing life's deeper meaning.

The sculpture that won the Wollaston prize is a round silvery disc made of some kind of foam is casually leaning against the wall. Something that looks like rust and a bulging decoration on the surface occupies the upper right corner. 

Charles Wollaston Award 2011

Alison Wilding RA  hock won the prestigious £ 25,000 Charles Wollaston Award for her work in the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 2011th Presented To The 'most distinguished work' in the Summer Exhibition, the award presents one of the most Significant Art Prize awarded in the countryside.
Martin and I did get the opportunity of seeing the show after all, when he was at the Great Britons interview at the Royal Academy of Art. It was an overwhelming show, and we didn't have much energy after a long day. You do get a cross section of what people create these days though, this is interesting to us.

Nonetheless, it was great to see that lots of art was being sold, though in all honesty the members of the Royal Academy were asking prices a "normal" artist could never dream of. We found that most of the art were pieces by members of the Royal Academy. There's obvious elitism, not least as the members were able to show up to five pieces each and not all of it was that great. There was bad art - but there was also a lot of good stuff. Most techniques one could think of were represented. Still it might well be worth trying to enter this show in spite of the hazzle of getting it there - apparently you stand a good chance of selling if you do get in. It's very expensive though, £130 just to submit your work!

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