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Royal Academy of Arts transformational redevelopment to open in May

How the Royal Academy of Art’s new architecture studio will look 2017 – © Hayes Davidson

The Royal Academy of Arts 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’.

 

Alongside the transformation of the RA’s physical space, the first phase of a new online platform https://roy.ac/collection 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.

Museum-iD Magazine #21

Museum-iD Magazine #21

International, independent and influential. Museum-iD shares progressive thinking and developments in museums globally.

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