New York: Designed by Lake End Graphics Ltd. for the Contemporary Ballet Company, 1980. Folio (432 x 280 mm), single sheet folded twice to produce 3 panels. Printed in black and red. On recto: 12 b/w photographs by Robert Mapplethorpe divided by thin red lines. On verso: 3 panels with 3 additional b/w photographs by Mapplethorpe (some creasing, as would be expected with something sent via USPS 40 years ago, two folds with 1" separation along side). In lower panel the printed label Patterson Sims of the Whitney, original recipient. Preserved in a high quality mylar L-sleeve backed with lig-free board. Suitable for exhibition and study. Item #3222
Very special Robert Mapplethorpe ephemeral piece, "impossible" to obtain, being the actual promotional mailing advertisement for the first performances of the newly formed New York Contemporary Ballet Company. It features reproductions of 15 specially commissioned, and previously unpublished Mapplethorpe photographs, and (on the verso) details of the repertoire, list of dancers and choreographers. Our broadside is not to be confused with the poster which neither contextualizes the piece, nor does it provide any information about the objectives of the Company and its upcoming first performances.
"In 1980, Peter Reed, founder of the Contemporary Ballet Company, sought out Mapplethorpe to devise the promotional material for the ballet's premier performance. Relaying an avant-garde sensibility, the poster's grid of images details the sensuality and strength of the dancers' bodies." (F. Terpak & M. Brunnick, Robert Mapplethorpe: The Archive, p. 116 and fig. 31). Interestingly, the New York Times refused to print certain pictures from this advertising campaign.
The recipient of our mailing advertisement was Patterson Sims, the first curator designated to oversee the permanent collection at the Whitney Museum of American Art.
OF THE GREAT RARITY. We have not been able to locate another example outside the Getty Center, which holds the epic Robert Mapplethorpe Archive, and a framed example that appeared at auction that had not been examined outside of the frame.