A walk round the Royal Academy’s 250th Summer Exhibition with the artist, who is coordinating this year’s landmark show. By Miranda Sawyer
What fun it is to walk around the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition with Grayson Perry. It’s a few days before it opens, and the galleries are in chaos, like the house in The Cat in the Hat before the Cat clears up. Paintings are stacked against walls, sculptures huddle in mismatched families. Trapdoors gape open and elevators bring up works; people with clipboards point at walls; there’s the constant buzz of a drill.
Still, you can just about see how things will look. Perry is this year’s coordinator of the Summer Exhibition, and in the rooms where he’s chosen the work, much of the space has already been filled. Other galleries are coming together too: Conrad Shawcross’s room is looking fairly finished, as is Phyllida Barlow’s. Still, everywhere we go we have to pick our way through paintings laid out on the floor (ooh, there’s a Sean Scully!), hop over wires and pulleys, scoot round random sculptures of a leopard, a strange spotted gnome, a very realistic donkey…
Photography: Suki Dhanda for the Observer