Saturday, November 10, 2007
In my usual trawl for RCA secret articles I came across one in the telegraph below, the text of which is reproduced below. This then led me to the telegraph website which, unbeknown to me, had published 10 of the rca secret cards in September. Hit them up here for the previews. I've published a couple at the top of this article.
Less than a week to go now. I'm sure I'm not the only one counting the days.
Here is the full text of the article.
A handful of buyers will strike gold in the RCA's 'lucky dip' show. By Alastair Sooke
Everybody wants a piece of contemporary art these days.
Damien Hirst's 2004 card
Guess whose? Damien Hirst's 2004 card
The market has grown so rapidly in recent years that even dashed-off works by graffiti artists such as Banksy are selling at auction for hundreds of thousands of pounds. But the flip-side of the boom is that works by many first-rate living artists are now too expensive for anyone but the super-rich.
Unless, that is, you strike it lucky at RCA Secret, the Royal College of Art's annual exhibition of about 2,500 postcard-sized artworks by established artists, designers and illustrators, as well as current students and up-and-coming graduates from London's RCA itself.
On the last day of the show, which opens on Friday, the postcards will be sold for £40 each, with proceeds going towards an awards fund for students at the college. The catch? All of the postcards are signed on the back: the identity of the artist is revealed only after the buyer has handed over the cash.
In short, RCA Secret is the art-world equivalent of a lucky dip. It's a tantalising proposition: this year, several big names have contributed, including Peter Blake, Julian Opie, Yoko Ono and Tracey Emin, as well as the fashion designer Paul Smith and the filmmaker Mike Leigh.
Now in its 14th year, the exhibition offers eagle-eyed enthusiasts the chance to make a quick buck. Three years ago, one lucky punter bought a sketch of a human skull with an eye in the middle of its forehead, only to discover that it was by Damien Hirst.
It was auctioned off at Sotheby's this summer for £15,600. Its price was boosted perhaps by the frenzied interest surrounding Hirst's recently unveiled For the Love of God, a diamond-smothered human skull, with a massive 52-carat stone above the eye sockets, which the London gallery White Cube was trying to flog for £50 million. The postcard looks like a preliminary sketch.
That was nothing, though, compared with the profit generated by a painting of a bearded man in a canoe by the fashionable British artist Peter Doig that was picked up at RCA Secret seven years ago. It sold for £42,000 at the same Sotheby's sale as the Hirst postcard. Again, timing was important: a large painting of a white canoe by Doig sold for £5.7 million at Sotheby's at the start of this year, five times above estimate and a record for a living European artist at the time.
Over the past decade, RCA Secret has become so popular that the college now holds a raffle for tickets to be among the first 50 customers allowed inside the building on the day of the sale. Hundreds more will queue from the early hours, hoping to buy a mini-masterpiece of contemporary art that won't break the bank.
Inside it might feel like department-store sales hell. But for those who swoop upon a gem that no one else has spotted, all that jostling will be worth it.
Posted by pezlow at 7:28 PM