Young Brit injects fresh blood into the Royal Academy's annual open show

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The Independent Online

The first of the Young British Artists to be elected to the Royal Academy yesterday defended the Summer Exhibition, its annual open art show beloved of the public and loathed by critics.

Gary Hume said the opportunity the exhibition gives to the public to have their works displayed in one of Britain's most prestigious galleries created something that was "quite mad". "But there's a certain charm to it and it gives a huge amount of pleasure," he added.

Hume was elected as one of the 80 Royal Academicians (RAs) last year and, at just 40, is currently the youngest artist in an institution founded by Sir Joshua Reynolds in 1768. To welcome the new "boy", the Academy has handed him his own gallery to curate for the Summer Exhibition.

Bryan Kneale, the RA in charge of this year's show, said: "I wanted to make every possible use of his contacts. He has a fresh view of things and friends who I don't know."