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The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 2012. London

Courtyard instalation.

Since its founding in 1768 by George III, the Royal Academy in London has held 244 summer exhibitions to showcase the work of artists of the day. This year, an architectural installation by Chris Wilkinson, one of its academicians, marks the occasion as the central feature in the entrance courtyard.

Each year, artists and architects who are not academicians can submit works to the Royal Academy and similar institutions around the great cultural capitals of Europe and elsewhere. Works are selected for display in the exhibition by a jury or panel. But what happens to the many works that do not make the cut?

In the 1860s the Parisian Salons famously rejected Le déjeuner sur l'herb by Édouard Manet. Other artists that were rejected from the official Paris Salon, and who went on to exhibit at the alternative Salon des Refusés, include: Whistler, Cezanne and Pissarro.

Consequently as the great art salons developed a reputation for being artistically conservative, some artists began to see a rejection and subsequent exhibition in a Salon des Refusés, as both a mark of honour, and a springboard for their careerer.

Of course, it is one thing to sneer at the great academies from the outside, it is quite another thing to be admitted as a pinnacle in your field.

The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition is between 4thJune – 12 August.

Chris Winkinson installation

Chris Wilkinson instalation


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