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RCA Secret Art Exhibition 09 – Can you bag a bargain?

BY Boon Koh
Published 13 November 2009

The Royal College of Art’s Secret Exhibition to raise funds for charity is back again! Every year, the RCA holds a week-long exhibition of thousands of “secret” postcard art, some for very famous living artists and others by up and coming RCA students. The trick here is that the artist’s identity is kept secret until the postcard is sold, when the name will be revealed. Could this be the bargain of the year, and do you have a good eye for quality art?

A list of the famous artists who contributed postcard paintings/drawings/artwork this year include:

  • Gerhard Richter
  • Bill Viola
  • Julian Opie
  • Grayson Perry
  • Paul Smith
  • Yoko Ono

There are a total of 2,700 of postcard sized artworks for sale this year, more than ever before, and from more celebrity artists than ever before! Each postcard is priced as a flat rate of £40, and all proceeds go to the RCA Fine Art Student Award Fund, which helps to support student artists in need of financial support during their studies and training at the Royal College of Art.

RCA Secret Exhibition 09 The exhibition is being held at the Royal College of Art, based at Kensington Gore, near to the Royal Albert Hall and Imperial College London at South Kensington. The gallery of postcards is open for viewing from the Friday, 13th November 2009 till the Friday, 20th November 2009. There is no entrance fee, so its free for anyone to visit during this week and as many times as you want. The exhibition is open between 11am till 6pm on these days (and 11am till 8pm, specially on Thursday 19th). However, none of the postcards are sold during the viewing week. Instead, all the postcards are sold on a first come first serve basis on the Saturday, 21st November, where the gallery will be open from 8am to 6pm.

If previous years’ RCA Secret Exhibition is anything to go by, there will be a long queue of people on Saturday at 8am waiting to rush in and buy their chosen artworks. Anyone interested in purchasing the postcards are encouraged to make a few visits during the week, note down the serial numbers of the postcards they are interested in, and arrive early on Saturday to get their first choice artworks. The artists’ identities will be revealed to buyers on the day of the sale after purchase, as well as on the Secret 09 online gallery from Sunday onwards.

In addition, the RCA is holding a “First-Fifty” raffle, where there will be 50 winners, each of whom will be allowed to purchase their artworks first from 7am to 8am before the general public. Raffle tickets are sold at the exhibition during the viewing week for £1 only.

Other notable artists who have contributed to this exhibition include Yoko Ono, Cornelia Parker, David Bailey, former Stone Roses guitarist John Squire, and animator Nick Park, as well as fashion designers Sir Paul Smith, Manolo Blahnik and Erdem. In addition, many leading American artists have also contributed this year including Lawrence Weiner, John Baldessari and Alex Katz.