As artists grow older they can fall from fashion, but age also brings gravitas, writes Bob and Roberta Smith
Regarding Jonathan Jones’s review (6 June) of the Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition, where he spent a great deal of it attacking me (“the poor person’s [Grayson] Perry”), I don’t really mind. If you make art and put it in the public domain you have to be prepared to take the brickbats. But what he got wrong was the notion that when you get older as an artist you become “exhausted”.
Two of my fellow Royal Academicians in this year’s show have made astonishing works in their 90s. Joe Tilson presents a magnificent stained-glass work for which he won the Charles Wollaston prize. Anthony Eyton has painted a beautiful image of light falling down a staircase in his London home, and this week is his 96th birthday. In their 80s, Olwyn Bowey presents her beautiful homage to Van Gogh and in gallery 8 I have hung a masterpiece: an ambitious evocation of light and debris by Frank Bowling, who currently has a widely praised retrospective at Tate Britain.