Went into town yesterday to see the RA summer exhibition: there is an entire wall of David Hockney, quite shockingly bad. Other bad things include a set of three small sculptures showing Jesus crucified on a wooden aeroplane instead of a cross, some Hindu god half concealed under a rusty German WW2 helmet, and a Buddha with a gigantic golden cock and balls rising from between his crossed legs. Guess who is missing? This made a clearer statement than most conceptual art, but it wasn’t one about the courage of the artist or of the organisers.
The photography section was poor, too. The highlight was a very large and exquisitely detailed monochrome print, beautifully composed, with fine tonal balance, which turned out, when you got close enough to touch, to be an oil painting. But the rest of the pictures were a great deal less artistic and thought provoking than — say — the 10,00 most “interesting” shots on Flickr.
There was some very good stuff among the dross, though. A few very lovely prints — and if I had had £500 to spare I would definitely have bought them; three excellent naturalistic oil paintings by an RA I had never heard of: something, in fact, in almost every room. And in the Sackler galleries at the top, there are some wonderful impressionists at the seaside. Courbet, Monet, Manet and Whistler all fantastic there. Well worth seeing while it lasts.