Friday, October 24, 2008

Anish Kapoor this year

According to this RCA press release Anish Kapoor will be contributing to this years sale, amongst many others.

Leading artists and designers from around the world including Yoko Ono, Anish Kapoor and Tracey Emin have contributed to this year’s RCA Secret postcard exhibition and fundraising sale taking place at the Royal College of Art in London from 14–22 November.

RCA Secret is one of the UK’s most distinctive art events and was the brainchild of an RCA student in 1994 to help raise funds for the fine art students. The idea was simple — ask famous artists and young art students to submit an original piece of art with just two rules — the art work must be completed on a postcard and it must be signed on the reverse, keeping the artists’ identity a secret. All cards are sold in a one-day sale to the public with each card costing just £40 each.

Fifteen years later, RCA Secret has grown in popularity and now has over 1,000 artists donating to the event each year. Amongst the artists and designers who have contributed nearly 2,000 postcards to this year’s event include Tracey Emin, Yoko Ono, Anish Kapoor, David Bailey, Grayson Perry, Olafur Eliasson, former Clash member Paul Simonon, Wallace & Gromit creator Nick Park, sculptor Richard Wilson, inventor James Dyson and the fashion designers Paul Smith and Sonia Rykiel. More names will be announced soon.

Professor Glynn Williams, Head of Fine Art at the RCA said:

“We are incredibly pleased and grateful with this year’s contributions by some of the world’s leading artists and designers. RCA Secret is about securing the future for the next generation of artists and by coming to buy postcards at the event the public are helping to make this possible.”

The format stays the same with the postcards exhibited in the RCA galleries and on-line from 14 to 21 November. Then for one day only on 22 November, all the postcards will go on sale for the incredibly low price of just £40 each. Postcards can only be bought on a first come, first served basis, with no sealed bids or reservations in advance. There will also be a raffle for buyers to win a position in the first fifty places of the sale-day queue.

Since 1994, thousands of art lovers have had the opportunity to buy original works of art at an affordable price whilst helping to support young artists.

Small art in the standard on Wednesday

Here is a small article that appeared in the evening standard on Wednesday.

Buy Hirst art for £40 ... if you're lucky
Amar Singh
22.10.08 AN EXHIBITION that gives art lovers the chance to buy a Tracy Emin, David Bailey, Yoko Ono or Damien Hirst for just £40 returns next month.

The Royal College of Art's annual Secret show will see more than a thousand postcard-sized works sold to help raise funds for students.

Some are by leading artists and others are by RCA graduates but the creator's name will only be revealed after the postcard is purchased. On Monday a Peter Doig postcard bought in 2000 was sold at Sotheby's for £16,250.

They can be seen in the RCA galleries and online from 14 to 21 November.

On 22 November, all go on sale for one day only. Others contributing this year include fashion designers Paul Smith and Sonia Rykiel, architect Will Alsop, inventor James Dyson, animator Nick Park and graphic designer Milton Glaser.

Professor Glynn Williams, head of fine art at the RCA, said: "It's one of the most democratic art sales in the world."

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The lure of the sale

What makes the RCA secret sale so special? Why do so many people queue for so long to buy these little pieces of art?

I’ve pondered this for a while now and come up with a list of reasons, see what you think

1. Variety

Not only is this the spice of life but also it truly means there is something for everyone at the RCA secret sale. If your thing is a pretty watercolour of flowers then there are cards for you. If conceptual art is more to your taste then again there is something that you will fall in love. Virtually all artistic styles and all contemporary genres are represented in the sale. Frankly if you can’t find something you like then you don’t like art.

2. The guessing game

A lot of people in the queue will protest that they don’t care who designed the card that they buy, they buy cards that they like. Of course you should buy what you like. But even if you do there is still that moment when you turn the card over and find out who did it. And I defy anyone not to have butterflies in their stomach when they are doing that. And if the card that you bought because you liked it turns out to be by a well known artist or celebrity then even better.

3. The research

One of the great things about RCA secret is that it introduces you to artists and styles that you may never have heard of. It’s so exciting to turn over the card, see a name that means nothing to you, to then go back and google and find out more about the artist and what he or she does. A few years ago my other half saw some cards she really liked at the sale. Unfortunately by the time I got to the front of the queue they had gone. But I found out the name of the artist who did them – Moira McNair – and then contacted her. In the end I ended up buying two pieces of art from her, and we still to this day we still occasionally exchange emails.

4. Friendship

A personal reason to me perhaps but through RCA secret I have met many people, all of whom are fascinating to talk to and many of whom have now become good friends. Very few of my other friends or work colleagues have any interest in contemporary art and so it is great to exchange emails and meet up with those who do.

5. Value

I did wonder about putting this in at all. But given that you cannot have a conversation with a non art lover without this thorny question coming up I suppose we have to address it. I don’t think that actually that many people do queue for the potential value of the pieces. I think this is for two reasons: firstly that very few of the cards are actually sold after the sale. There are a few that have come on to the secondary market but not many. The second reason is that I am not convinced that the cards have an enormous value. Sure there are the examples of the odd card that has done well in the secondary market – cards by Damien Hirst and Peter Doig in particular – but the majority make nothing like that. Even cards by well known artists rarely make £200 on ebay, and many have failed to sell at auction.

6. The college

Seriously I couldn’t think of a better venue for the sale. When you bear in mind the fact that the college are not a commercial organisation the way they run the sale is exemplary. The cards are now professionally photographed and on the website the day the sale opens (no mean feat given the number of them). The college are always a pleasure to deal with when attending the viewings. And then you have the sale date itself. Given the number of people who queue and the inevitable squabbles that break out in the queue you really have to take your hat off to the way in which the sale day is organised. Commercial galleries could learn a lot from the way that the college organises itself.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Doig card sells for £16,250

The Peter Doig card from the 2000 sale referred to in this post sold today for £16,250. Not bad for a £35 investment.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Great article in the independent

A smashing feature in the independent today about the sale. Text is repeated below - lots of interesting contributor news. Best of all are that there is a sneak preview of a number of the cards in this years sale. Click here to read it all and for the pictures follow the "More pictures" link in the article.

Spot the masterpiece?

So you think you know your art – but can you tell your £15,000 Peter Doig from your £40 student artist? Arifa Akbar reveals all

The country's biggest art lucky dip is back, in the shape of the Royal College of Art's "Secret" exhibition, at the end of next month.

Art-lovers can choose to buy one of about 2,000 postcards produced by the country's most established artists, fashion designers and photographers, including David Hockney, Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin, David Bailey and Zandra Rhodes, as well as unidentified student artists, for £40. What makes the show so exciting is that the signature on the back of the postcard is only revealed after it has been bought.

Alongside an exclusive preview of some of this year's postcards on sale (pictured), keen-eyed aficionados are invited to guess which image amongst them is by the artist Peter Doig. The postcard in question was bought by one lucky recipient for £35 in 2000. The postcard is up for auction at Sotheby's with an estimate of up to £15,000 on 27 October.

Also in this collection are cards from past years by Paula Rego, Peter Blake, Hirst, Emin and Paul McCartney. Can you spot them? This year's sale will include contributions from Yoko Ono, Emin, Olafur Eliasson, Bailey, Paul Smith, Grayson Perry and the Clash bassist Paul Simonon, among others.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Some Contributor News

Visit London has a nice little piece on the sale - click here to see it.

There are also some small pictures of 5 of the cards in the sale, which I have posted here.

Most excitingly some contributor news as well. According to the site the following have contributed to the sale:

The Clash bassist Paul Simonon
Pop Artist Alex Katz
Yoko Ono
Turner Prize winner Grenville Davey
Architect Will Alsop

Alex Katz is interesting. I'm pretty sure that he has contributed fairly uninspiring cards to previous years sales, although I was never sure whether it was THE Alex Katz or not...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

RCA Secret 2008 contributors

With less than a month to go until the exhibition opens very little information from the college yet about contributors to this year's show. I've yet to see any significant press about the sale too - this will surely come soon. Normally an article appears in the times about this time of year.

I do try and keep an eye on the press but if anyone sees anything about the sale do let me know.

Meantime here are a couple of artists who have confirmed their involvement this year - Louisa Minkin and Robin Duttson.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Last Chance to look at 2007's cards

The 2007 Cards will be removed from the RCA website on Tuesday 14th October

Have a last long look at them Here

Remind yourself of your favourites, the ones you wanted but werent there when you finally got to the front....

The one that the person in front of you bought that looked awful...

The one that the person behind you bought, that looked wonderful.

Card shown was the last card from RCA 2007, number 2300 by Anja Hartmann.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Peter Doig card goes under the hammer

A card by Peter Doig for the 2000 RCA Secret sale goes under the hammer at Sothebys on 20 October 2008. For full details see here. The last Doig card to be auctioned went for £42,000.