Smorgartsbord

It’s time for the annual pilgrimage to the Royal Academy for the Summer Exhibition.

Three telling details. First, the introductory panel in Room 5:

Tess Jaray has hung this room in the belief that it is “only for people who are sensitive, intelligent and thoughtful. Nobody else will enjoy it: the works are delicate, subtle and rich”.

Then, an American man to his wife in Room 5:

“I’m having difficulty telling what’s a work of art, and what’s complete rubbish.”

In another room, I spot a woman looking intently at a piece of art set into the floor. It looks like a heavy wrought-iron grille, Victorian in its attention to detail. She’s searching for a number to look it up in her exhibition guide.

She looks across the room, and sees another identical one.

Then, she realises it’s actually a heavy wrought-iron grille, which looks Victorian because it is. Like all the other grilles in the parquet floor throughout the Royal Academy.

She moves on.