Your Invitation to the Royal College of Art’s Secret Show
Its not something well known in the art world, but it is certainly something not to be missed. And its happening now. The Royal College of Art’s annual postcard sale has been launched this week, offering the perhaps unique opportunity to pick up an original piece by one of the country’s best artists for a mere £45.
The annual event aimed at raising funds for the London college calls on 2, 700 artists ranging from the well known to those yet to be discovered, to submit an anonymous piece of work on the back of a postcard. These postcards are all sold for £45 and it is not until the art lover has parted with their cash that they get to flip round their postcard and see the artist’s signature revealing the maker’s identity.
The idea behind the sale is wonderfully simple and coy; teasing the art buyers all the way to the final reveal. It has all the simplistic but nonetheless enthralling suspense of a lucky dip bag, but with much greater rewards. The postcard sale plays on the pretensions of so many art buyers; surely the name behind the work does not matter when the face of the postcard is what pleases? This democratic philosophy has all the eloquence of Shakespeare’s moral that surely ‘a rose by any other name would smell as sweet’ but injects the sentiment into a glass and steel showroom in the College’s Battersea campus.
For the average art lover such as myself and, I suspect, most of the readers of Fawn Review, the Royal College’s postcard sale also provides a unique opportunity to pick up a piece of unique art work for a mere fraction of what most of these artists’ works normally sell for.
The postcards were revealed this week on the Royal College’s website in a gallery containing all 2,700 anonymous little rectangles. They can be viewed at http://home.secret.rca.ac.uk until the sale on 23rd March.
Whilst critics of the postcard sale will no doubt accuse it of being gimmicky, the fresh approach to selling art can only be a good thing. Shaking off the dust and self importance of Christie’s auction rooms, as well the obscene price tags, the event will no doubt engage and affect many people of our age and budget with the art world for the first time. Having the opportunity to pick up a David Bailey original in the same way that you could a dodgy old watercolour in a car boot sale, may not be very reverent or respectful, but it is certainly exhilarating and accessible.