07 July 2007

This is Tomorrow. Whitechapel Art Gallery 1956

Lawrence Alloway (ed.,) THIS IS TOMORROW. Whitechapel Art Gallery, London 1956.

Current Selling Prices
$1000- $2000 / £500-£1000

Small blue catalogue of an important exhibition -"This is Tomorrow" -variously described as 'seminal' 'landmark' 'watershed' and 'groundbreaking.' Something of a sleeper - in the sense that it can be cashed in with almost any art reference dealer for $1000 but to the unhip eye looks like a $15 fifties art catalogue. Not impossible to find, it was a popular exhibition, we have had 3 copies in the last 10 years. We desrcibed the last thus:
'8vo. Unpaginated--about 60 pages and some product ads. Illustrated throughout. Groundbreaking exhibition devoted to the possibilities of co-operation between architects, painters, musicians, graphic designers and sculptors. 4 pages of poems by Reyner Banham. Exhibition featured work by Erno Goldfinger, Victor Pasmore, Paolozzi, Anthony Jackson, Germano Facetti, Theo Crosby, John Ernest, William Turnbull etc., Highly important and difficult to find, especially in this condition. Small oblong rung bound catalogue; slight spotting to covers, one corner sl creased ; vg+.'
Sold it for about £400 in 2002. For some reason we forgot to mention the early appearance of Richard Hamilton, curently selling for mindblowing sums. His room was the most visited of the show-- he shared it with John Voelcker and John McHale, with collaboration from Magda and Frank Cordell. It included the Op Art Dazzle panels, and Pop Art readymades of a film advertising billboard of the Forbidden Planet, Robby the Robot and a Jukebox that were provided by McHale.

It can be found reproduced at thisistomorrow2.com. There is thus no need to buy it - but it has become an iconic object marking the beginning of a great new spirit in art.

VALUE? A book dealer from the NY art /vernissage coterie had a copy at $5000 in late 2006, possibly a 'having a laugh price' aimed at a hedge fund art trendy or super rich artist/collector like Richard Prince--anyway it went or was not there a week later. Likely to have been an "I saw you coming" price - while on the subject of comedians note the resemblance of the stout artist Paolozzi to comic and hoaxer Dom Joly (above) + those are not Ipod earphones Smithson is wearing but the drawstrings of a sort of khaki army pullover affected by cool Bohemians of the 1950s. TRIVIA. One wonders whether architect Erno Goldfinger's name was the inspiration for Ian Fleming's 1959 novel. [ W/Q ** ]


Bookmaker said...

Re Paolozzi --the resemblance to Dom Joly is uncanny--possibly EP was an uncle...I saw Paolozzi once at the Chelsea Arts Club talking on a very big soft phone.

Anonymous said...

Copy of this, 1st ed, sold about an hour ago on abebooks.com for $20 US. The seller priced it against the reprint... and I missed it once again.

Anonymous said...

Hi there, I can see this page was created in 2007 and wondered if there was any idea of a more up to date price for the catalogue, I am aware of it's importance and really don't want to be ripped off by a buyer. I'd be really grateful for any assistance so I can approach book sellers with some knowledge of the market. I can't find any currently for sale online and so am at a loss as to how I can put a fair price on it. Thanks so much.

Jot101 said...

A desirable but quite ommon book -lots of copies have sold -- if it's really nice think £1000 if used anything from £400 to £700. Check ABE -- it's a site on the web for rare books...

Anonymous said...

Thanks for that @Jot101. I have just had a look and there are 2 on ABE at the minute, one sounds a lot more worn than my copy, the other has similar condition and is on for £1,500, not sure how realistic that price is. My copy is certainly used but really good condition, unbelievably I bought it for £1 in a little "green" shop a few years ago because it was lovely. We were moving house and in need of money so I looked up a few of my more interesting books and discovered how special the little catalogue was! What a happy surprise, I hope to sell it and then buy a copy of the reissued edition from 2010 as it's so lovely I'd like to be able to read it again and again. Anyway it's difficult to know what to do with it but thank you for your advice!

Anonymous said...

Haha "I really don't want to be ripped off by a buyer"

You bought it for £1. I think it's the buyer who's going to get ripped off by you, a greedy amateur.