Enfilade

Seminar | Chronicling the Summer Exhibition

Posted in lectures (to attend) by Editor on April 27, 2018

Thomas Rowlandson, Viewing at the Royal Academy, ca. 1815, watercolor with pen and gray and brown ink over graphite on moderately thick, moderately textured, blued white, wove paper, 15 × 24 cm (New Haven: Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection, B2001.2.1161).

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From the Mellon Centre:

Chronicling the Summer Exhibition: The Early Years
Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, London, 2 May 2018

This research seminar will feature Esther Chadwick, Amy Concannon, and Mark Hallett, three of the contributors to the PMC’s major publication project The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition: A Chronicle, 1769–2018. This online publication, which will be launched at the end of May, will feature 250 pieces of writing by leading scholars, critics, artists, and curators about every single RA summer exhibition since 1769. It will also include digitised and fully-searchable versions of every summer exhibition catalogue. In the seminar, the speakers will present some of their own work for the Chronicle, focusing in particular on the exhibitions of the Georgian period, and discuss the challenges and opportunities offered by this new scholarly venture. Wednesday, 2 May, 18.00–20.00; this is a free event, followed by a drinks reception; booking information is available here.

Esther Chadwick has been funded by the Monument Trust to catalogue the Department’s collection of prints kept in roughly 6000 bound volumes, ranging across national schools from the Renaissance to the twentieth century. Esther joined the Department of Prints and Drawings after receiving her PhD in Art History from Yale University in 2016. Her thesis explored connections between eighteenth-century British printmaking and political radicalism. At the Yale Center for British Art she co-curated Figures of Empire: Slavery and Portraiture in Eighteenth-Century Atlantic Britain (2014). She has been a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, Washington, D.C., the Huntington Library, the Lewis Walpole Library, and the Paul Mellon Centre in London.

Amy Concannon is currently in the final year of her AHRC-funded PhD on depictions of the urban landscape in Britain, c.1820–1850; this takes in a wide spectrum of imagery, from topographical prints to academic landscape paintings, and is supervised jointly between the Art History and Geography departments of the University of Nottingham, and Tate. Since 2012 she has worked at Tate Britain as Assistant Curator for British Art, 1790–1850, where she has focused on landscape through a range of projects, from the exhibitions Late Turner: Painting Set Free (2014–15) and Ruin Lust (2014) to the multi-partner tour of Constable’s Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows. Before Tate, she held roles at Dulwich Picture Gallery and the Wordsworth Trust, Grasmere, Cumbria, where she developed a particular interest in views of the Lake District.

Mark Hallett is the Director of Studies at the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art and oversees all aspects of the Centre’s activities, ensuring that it supports the most original, rigorous, and stimulating research into the history of British art and architecture, and fosters collaboration with our sister-institution, the Yale Center for British Art.

Exhibition | The Great Spectacle: 250 Years of the Summer Exhibition

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on April 27, 2018

From the RA:

The Great Spectacle: 250 Years of the Summer Exhibition
Royal Academy of Arts, London, 12 June — 19 August 2018

The Great Spectacle tells the story of 250 years of the Summer Exhibition, the world’s longest running annual display of contemporary art. Ever since 1769, and at a succession of locations ranging from Pall Mall to Piccadilly, the Academy’s exhibition rooms have been crowded for some two months each year with hundreds of paintings and sculptures produced by many of Britain’s leading artists.

Over the last two hundred and fifty years, these spectacular displays of art—dominated by what has become a famously crowded and collage-like arrangement of pictures across the Academy’s walls—have provided thousands of artists with a crucial form of competition, inspiration and publicity, and captured the interest of millions of visitors. The Great Spectacle tells the story of these exhibitions and, in doing so, offers an innovative, illuminating and visually stunning celebration of the Academy’s first 250 years and demonstrates the impact of these exhibitions on art in Britain and internationally.

Staged to coincide with the Summer Exhibition of 2018, and taking the form of a sequence of interlinked gallery displays that will recreate a series of important moments in the history of the Academy and its shows, The Great Spectacle will dramatise the excitement, variety and richness of the Summer Exhibition, offering visitors a fascinating, ever-changing journey from Joshua Reynolds to Wolfgang Tillmans.

Mark Hallett and Sarah Victoria Turner, The Great Spectacle 250 Years of the Summer Exhibition (London: ACC Publishing Group, 2018), 224 pages, ISBN: 9781910350706, £25.

Note added (23 August 2018) — Also, see the related online publication: Hallett, Mark, Sarah Victoria Turner, Jessica Feather, Baillie Card, Tom Scutt, and Maisoon Rehani, eds., The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition: A Chronicle, 1769–2018 (London: Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, 2018).

Newly Redeveloped RA Campus Opens on 19 May 2018

Posted in museums, on site by Editor on April 27, 2018

From the press release:

The Royal Academy of Arts, the world’s foremost artist and architect-led institution, will open its new campus to the public on Saturday 19 May 2018 as part of the celebrations of its 250th anniversary year. Following a transformational redevelopment, designed by internationally- acclaimed architect Sir David Chipperfield CBE RA and supported by the National Lottery, the new Royal Academy will open up and reveal more of the elements that make the RA unique—sharing with the public historic treasures from its Collection, the work of its Royal Academicians and the Royal Academy Schools, alongside its world-class exhibitions programme.

One of the most significant outcomes of the redevelopment is the link between Burlington House and Burlington Gardens, uniting the two-acre campus. This will provide 70% more space than the RA’s original Burlington House footprint, enabling the RA to expand its exhibition programme and to create new and free displays of art and architecture across the campus for visitors year-round. From dedicated galleries to surprising interventions, a dynamic series of changing exhibits and installations will present the living heritage of the Royal Academy; exploring its foundation and history in training artists as well as showcasing contemporary works by Royal Academicians and students at the RA Schools. To animate the displays, a new range of free tours, taster talks and object handling stations will be available to visitors.

Tacita Dean: LANDSCAPE (19 May — 12 August 2018) will inaugurate the new Gabrielle Jungels-Winkler Galleries in Burlington Gardens. With Art Fund support, the exhibition is part of an unprecedented collaboration with the National Portrait Gallery and the National Gallery in London. It will showcase the internationally-renowned visual artist and Royal Academician Tacita Dean who will explore the genre of landscape in its broadest sense: intimate collections of natural found objects, a mountainous blackboard drawing and a major new, two screen 35mm film installation, Antigone, that uses multiple exposures to combine places, people and seasons into the single cinematographic frame. Antigone was funded in part through the support of the Laurenz Foundation-Schaulager and its founder Maja Oeri; and VIA Art Fund.

The magnificent new Royal Academy Collection Gallery will present The Making of an Artist: The Great Tradition highlighting works from the RA Collection, including the Taddei Tondo by Michelangelo and the RA’s almost full-size sixteenth-century copy of Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper, along with paintings by Reynolds, Kauffman, Thornhill, Constable, Gainsborough, and Turner. Selected by the President of the Royal Academy, Christopher Le Brun, it will focus on the first sixty years of the RA, juxtaposing masterpieces from the RA’s teaching collection with Diploma Works by past Royal Academicians. The display of the RA Collection has been supported by the Blavatnik Family Foundation.

The Architecture Studio within The Dorfman Senate Rooms will provide a creative space that invites audience engagement with innovative and critical ideas on architecture and its intersection with the arts. It will open with Invisible Landscapes (19 May 2018 — March 2019), explored in three ‘Acts’ of immersive interventions looking at the impact and future of technology in people’s environments. In contrast, recently conserved historical architectural casts on display in The Dorfman Architecture Court will convey the history of teaching architecture: the tradition of learning to draw from casts of buildings.

Located at the entrance to the Weston Bridge, which connects Burlington Gardens into Burlington House, The Ronald and Rita McAulay Gallery will stage site-specific installations by Royal Academicians. The first major work will be Tips for a Good Life by Bob and Roberta Smith RA (September 2018 – September 2019), on the subject of gender in the history of the RA.

Moving through to Burlington House, visitors will arrive at the Weston Studio. Located within the heart of the Royal Academy Schools, the Weston Studio will bring the ethos and thinking of the RA Schools’ postgraduate programme to a changing contemporary series of two displays a year and projects developed by students and graduates. It will open with a group exhibition of works by first year students, revealing their rich use of subjects, approaches, methods, and materials.

Going back in time, The Vaults will exhibit The Making of an Artist: Learning to Draw a formidable selection of plaster casts from the early years of the RA Schools displayed together with works on paper from the RA’s teaching collection, illustrating the RA’s role in the teaching of art since the RA Schools’ foundation in 1769. Works will include anatomical casts and casts of antique sculptures, such as the Venus de Milo and Farnese Hercules, juxtaposed with recent works on related themes by RA Schools graduates. Works on paper include a special display From the Child to the President by John Everett Millais PRA, who aged 11 started in the RA Schools where he was known as ‘The Child’.

Further interventions in Burlington House will include:
• An impressive installation of three dimensional details from buildings designed by current architect Academicians, curated by Spencer de Grey RA, which will be displayed across a three-story vertical wall, an affirmation of British architecture both today and in the future.
• Yinka Shonibare’s Cheeky Little Astronomer, 2013, which will take pride of place in the sculpture niche outside the Grand Café.
An Allegory of Painting: A Project by Sarah Pickstone, which will feature two new wall and ceiling paintings by Sarah Pickstone (September 2018 – September 2019). A graduate of the RA Schools, she will celebrate the work of Angelica Kauffman RA, one of the two female founding members of the Academy.
• Already open to the public, Richard Deacon RA Selects presents his own selection of sculptures by Royal Academicians from the RA Collection, spanning over 200 years.

Alongside the transformation of the RA’s physical space, the first phase of a new online platform has launched to open up the RA Collection to be more accessible to audiences worldwide. Comprising paintings, sculptures, artists’ letters and books from the RA Collection, over 10,000 items have been newly digitised with the support of the National Lottery. The RA worked with Fabrique, the award-winning designers of the Rijksmuseum’s website.

 

New Book | The Royal Academy of Arts: History and Collections

Posted in books by Editor on April 27, 2018

From Yale UP:

Robin Simon and MaryAnne Stevens, eds., The Royal Academy of Arts: History and Collections (London: Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, 2018), 676 pages, ISBN: 9780300232073, $95.

Animated by an unprecedented study of its collections, this book tells the story of the Royal Academy of Arts, London, and illuminates the history of art in Britain over the past two and a half centuries. Thousands of paintings, sculptures, drawings, and engravings, as well as silver, furniture, medals, and historic photographs, make up this monumental collection, featured here in stunning illustrations, and including an array of little-studied works of art and other objects of the highest quality. The works of art complement an archive of 600,000 documents and the first library in Britain dedicated to the fine arts. This fresh history reveals the central role of the Royal Academy in British national life, especially during the 19th century. It also explores periods of turmoil in the 20th century, when the Academy sought either to defy or to come to terms with modernism, challenging linear histories and frequently held notions of progress and innovation.

Robin Simon is editor of the British Art Journal and honorary professor of English at University College London. MaryAnne Stevens is an independent art historian and curator.