ArtPress has been working with the Royal Academy since 2013, printing its everyday and Christmas card collections. But the biggest challenge each year is the Summer Exhibition, which gives just two weeks from selecting the artworks to printing the greeting cards based on the year’s collection. With the Summer Exhibition 2017 now open until August 20, PGBuzz catches up with ArtPress director, Linzi Russell-Watson on the intense process.
The RA Summer Exhibition, which has been held every year without interruption since 1769, is the largest open submission art exhibition in the world (hanging over 1,200 works by artists) and is curated this year by Eileen Cooper RA.
Who submits artwork for the Summer Exhibition?
The range consists of a mixture of work from both esteemed academicians and open submissions from artists for whom it might be the very first time they submitted their artwork.
How does the selection process work?
The selection process is done by working very closely with the RA. The ArtPress team is incredibly privileged to attend the curating process, the first visit is to take note of potential artworks to publish, the second is to check they are still in situ during the intense editing process, all of which is highly confidential.
What happens after the works are selected?
Having selected from the myriad of artworks hanging from the walls of the Academy, the scramble to publish begins, as there are only two weeks from selection to print. We have to seek the artists’ permission, colour proofing is done by literally comparing the proof to the original artwork on the wall, approval from the artist is gained, the cards are printed and a quantity are packed and in the RA Store all in time for the previews of the show.
What’s it like to work on the Summer Exhibition?
The Summer Exhibition is such a great challenge, due to the incredibly tight schedule, the need for confidentiality and the incredible buzz that surrounds such an iconic event in the art calendar. The adrenaline rate for both us and our printers is incredibly high, with couriers rushing around with all the proofs to the artists and the printers working well into the night.
ArtPress ran a competition for those who placed an order at PG Live for two special tickets to the Exhibition and to partake of a rather fabulous afternoon tea at The RA Grand Café. The winner was Tim Wearing from Brighton’s Pen to Paper.
Pictured at top: Installation View of the Summer Exhibition 2017-Photo © David Parry