Royal Academy celebrates 250 years

  • 16 January 2018

Art Fund supports RA250 with £250,000 grant towards a nationwide programme of talks, exhibitions and events.

Tacita Dean Photo: Fredrik Nilson Studio

Tacita Dean

With Art Fund support, this year will see museums, galleries and art institutions across the UK take part in RA250, a major nationwide programme of talks, exhibitions and events to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the Royal Academy of Arts.

The Royal Academy is run by a distinguished group of 80 artists and architects, the Royal Academicians. Since its foundation in 1768, its membership has included over 650 of the UK’s most eminent painters, sculptors, printmakers and architects. Although the RA is based in London, the Royal Academicians have come from far and wide; their homes, studios, works of art, and exhibition spaces found across the British Isles and beyond.

As part of the celebrations, the RA and Art Fund have collaborated to create a series of 12 in-conversation events with Royal Academicians in 12 different locations across 12 months. These will include Gilbert & George RA at The New Art Gallery, Walsall; Alison Wilding RA at Leeds Art Gallery; Eva Rothschild RA at the Pier Art Centre, Orkney; and Christopher Le Brun PRA at The Munnings Art Museum, Essex.

In addition, the £250,000 grant will also support museums and galleries across the UK, from Glasgow to Exeter, to hold events and exhibitions marking the anniversary.

These exhibitions include the RA’s own show, Tacita Dean: LANDSCAPE, which opens on May 2018, and for the first time at the RA, offers National Art Pass holders 50% off the price of entry.

Stephen Deuchar, Director, Art Fund, said: 'Art Fund is delighted to be celebrating the RA's 250th anniversary with a major grant of £250,000. This will cover three areas: first, helping a range of museums and galleries around the country to stage events and exhibitions marking the RA's anniversary; second, enabling a national series of talks by Royal Academicians; third, support for the exhibition Tacita Dean: LANDSCAPE from 19 May to 12 August 2018. This is the first major collaboration between our two institutions.'

Finally, the RA and National Portrait Gallery have also jointly acquired a new work by Tacita Dean with Art Fund support. Called simply 'Portraits', the work is a 16mm film portrayal of David Hockney, which observes him in his LA studio as he reflects on the art of painting.