Making £108,000 using secrets

Each year London’s Royal College of Art uses a secret sale to raise money and make a point about fame and the business of art.

From today for a week, Londoners are invited to visit their gallery for the opportunity to view 2,700 pieces of art drawn on postcards. At the end of the week the postcards are made available in a sale where each postcard can be bought for £40.

For the right piece of art, not a huge sum.


What exactly is ‘the right piece of art?’ Unlike most sales, each artwork is not labelled with who created it. You only discover the artist once you have bought your postcard. The majority of the authors are RCA students, but some are internationally famous established artists and designers such as Yoko Ono, Tracey Emin, Manolo Blahnik, Nick Park and Anish Kapoor.

Some would say paying only £40 for a unique piece by such artists makes this an exciting lottery. On the other hand, that only matters if you plan to make money from selling the piece you’ve bought. This is one of the few art sales where aesthetics are the only consideration: buy if you think it is worth £40 to you. Just because it was made by someone famous doesn’t make it any better as art.

Imagine buying a number of cards and never turning them over to see who created them. That would be a statement about making the experience of the art solely about aesthetics

  1. Jesse said:

    This is very exciting! I wish I lived in London so I could check it out. We frequently talk about the “just because it was made by someone famous doesn’t make it any better as art” concept in film school. Everything is subjective, etc. I wonder what would happen if they conducted the Oscars like this.

  2. Tim said:

    Very interesting post. I guess the truth about art really is what it means to you on a personal level.

    Thanks for the info.

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