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Joe Lycett to present special programme about Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition

Comedian Joe Lycett will present a new programme following artists submitting work to the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition (BBC/Richard Ansett)
Comedian Joe Lycett will present a new programme following artists submitting work to the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition (BBC/Richard Ansett)

Comedian Joe Lycett is to present a special programme looking at the stories behind the Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition.

The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition is an annual art exhibition hosted by the Royal Academy of Arts (RA) in London to which any artist may submit up to two pieces of work for consideration.

The programme, which will air on BBC Two, is titled Joe Lycett: Summer Exhibitionist and will see the 34-year-old bring the contest to viewers by exploring the stages of the judging process and by delving into the artworks and backstories of entrants hoping to realise their dream of making it on to the RA walls.

Graham Norton show
Joe Lycett was successful with the entry he submitted to the 2018 Summer Exhibition (Ian West/PA)

Despite being best known as a comedian, Lycett has first-hand experience with the Summer Exhibition after he entered a small sculpture in 2018.

The sculpture, titled Chris, was made from clay and a tube of Pringles and ended up being selected for the exhibition.

Lycett has continued to enter his artwork into the exhibition, but each year since it has been rejected by the RA judges.

Over the course of the programme, Lycett will meet a variety of Summer Exhibition hopefuls, including a self-taught photorealist, a retired primary school teacher and a moonlighting web designer.

Of the 15,000 works submitted this to the RA year, only 900 will end up in the final show of the world’s largest open-entry art contest.

Speaking about the programme, Lycett said: “This programme is one of my favourite things I’ve worked on in a long time.

“It was such a privilege to meet some of the extraordinary artists and see their brilliant, joyful, thought-provoking and often very funny works.

“I was massively inspired, and I hope audiences will be too.”

Executive producer at BBC Studios Tom Currie added: “Joe Lycett: Summer Exhibitionist is highly entertaining, full of warmth, joy and intriguing characters.

“It showcases the immense creativity of the British public and celebrates the joy of making, as well as art as a superpower.

“Joe himself is no stranger to Summer Exhibition success after having his sculpture ‘Chris’ exhibited in 2018 and brings his trademark wit, warmth and irreverence to the hallowed halls of the Royal Academy.”

Joe Lycett: Summer Exhibitionist will be broadcast on BBC Two on July 23 at 8pm.

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