Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Big news day for RCA secret

Phew, where to start on a big news day for RCA secret.

First up the college informed us on the facebook group that Stella McCartney is a contributor this year.

Secondly there has been LOADS of press about rca secret. The best is a great article in the guardian (reproduced below). But that wasn't the only press. Articles have also appeared in Harpers Bazaar and Vogue.

Royal College of Art postcard exhibition is biggest yet

RCA Secret is in its 17th year, and offers people the opportunity to own an artwork – perhaps by a famous artist – for £45

Would Jake Chapman, Tracey Emin or Yinka Shonibare have simply painted the word "GOOD" in gaudy orange on a postcard, or would they have contributed something a bit more "them"?

The question arises as the Royal College of Art once more prepares for a charity event that has become one of the most interesting and enjoyable fundraisers on the visual art calendar.

Staff today began installing 2,800 postcard-sized artworks for RCA Secret – the biggest show in its 17 years. The cards are displayed anonymously online and at the RCA in London for a week before being offered to the public at £45 each. It could be a work by Sir Anthony Caro or Grayson Perry, or by a student. The work might one day be worth tens of thousands of pounds, or it might be barely worth the paper it was drawn on.

"It does feel like it gets bigger and bigger each year and this is the biggest yet," said curator Wilhelmina Bunn. "We now have a really nice community of artists who want to support it and the community is a little stronger than it used to be. That might be because students are more in need of bursaries."

More than £1m has been raised over the years for fine art bursaries and if all the cards sell this year then at least £126,000 will be raised. Money which is, Bunn said, even more important in these straightened times. "It has supported lots and lots of artists who might not have been able to come here without the support of a bursary."

It is now an incredibly popular event, given an added frisson by being first come first served. "Even though it's November we quite often get people staying two or three nights in a tent to be first in the queue," said Bunn. "Then a lot of people come very early on the morning of the sale, some of them after the pub, some of them on the way home from somewhere. It's a lovely atmosphere."

Bunn said it should not be assumed these early birds were after what they thought was an Emin or a Chapman. "A lot of people want to buy specific works they've seen in the exhibition, not necessarily by very famous people, but works they like. They want to own art by artists and they think that the Royal College of Art students and alumni and tutors represents a great deal of quality in art."

The exhibition opens and goes online Friday and the sale day is 20 November with the first 50 entrants being decided by raffle through the RCA.

This year's roster of more famous contributors also includes Sir Peter Blake, Olafur Eliasson, Yoko Ono, John Baldessari, Ron Arad, Terence Conran, Mike Leigh, James Dyson, Nick Park, Sir Paul Smith, Manolo Blahnik and Stella McCartney.

Some of those may be going to great lengths to disguise the fact it is them but Bunn believes most don't. "The ego is sometimes too big. People tend to want to do the thing that they do, because that's what they're known for."


philmcad said...

They're incorrect about this being the biggest year ever. They had upwards of 3500 cards back in the late 90's. In fact they had to use the downstairs gallery bc all the cards wouldn't fit on the upstairs walls.

Anonymous said...

I really can't believe the year has whizzed round so fast! So excited about doing this for the 3rd year running... can't wait to start making a list for the cards I'd like!