Royal Academy Summer Exhibition: A Culture Show Special

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The Culture Show, 2011/2012 Episode 28 of 28

Duration: 59 minutes

Alastair Sooke goes behind-the-scenes of the Royal Academy's 244th Summer Exhibition, the biggest open-submission contemporary art show in the world. He selects artists he hopes will make it through the tough judging process and hears about the challenges facing the curators in hanging thousands of works by amateur and leading contemporary artists.

New RA member Michael Landy delves into the archives to satisfy his curiosity about the weird and wonderful rituals that surround the show.

Psychotherapist Philippa Perry - wife of Grayson Perry - gives a psychological portrait of artists, past and present, who have attempted to get their works accepted.

Plus actress Emilia Fox joins Alastair on a whirlwind tour of the finished show at the glitzy preview party.

  • Alastair Sooke is granted rare access to the Academy’s vaults

    Alastair Sooke is granted rare access to the Academy’s vaults

    He also gets a sneak preview of the show as it comes together during the two-week-long hang, when the shortlisted works jostle for final position. These include works by prominent RAs and high-profile invited artists, such as George Baselitz, who are all after the prime hanging positions – as Alastair finds out, no one wants to be “sky’ed” or “floored” (hung above or below eye-line).


Alastair Sooke
Michael Landy
Emilia Fox
Assistant Producer
Edmund Moriarty


BBC Arts

BBC Arts

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