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Keep the Faith: Prattonia 1967
March 18, 2011 9:04 AM   Subscribe

Last fall, Mitzi Swisher, a vintage dealer, bought a boxed set of posters

which turned out to be the 1967 yearbook for the Pratt Institute. Robert Mapplethorpe turns up in the class photo of the Graphic Design department.
And she found another member of the class, Village Voice art director George Delmerico, on FB, and learned that the collection won NY Art Directors Club Award and is included in the Museum of Modern Art's library collection.
Whole collection here.
posted by Ideefixe (23 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
cool post. Can anyone make out what the second poster says? I read "make and mea sea" (?)
posted by milestogo at 9:12 AM on March 18, 2011


I think it says "Make Tea and See". Oh, the 60s.
posted by Ideefixe at 9:14 AM on March 18, 2011


"Take Tea And See".
posted by xedrik at 9:15 AM on March 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


...Mitzi Swisher?
posted by The Whelk at 9:17 AM on March 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Probably would have sold for a lot more if they were kept together.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:39 AM on March 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Tea = pot.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:18 AM on March 18, 2011


Mitzi Swisher is my new drag name.
posted by hermitosis at 10:26 AM on March 18, 2011


Probably would have sold for a lot more if they were kept together.

Probably being enjoyed by a lot more people by being sold separately.
posted by ocherdraco at 10:29 AM on March 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


That Math dept poster rocks the house.
posted by GuyZero at 11:11 AM on March 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


People used to routinely break up books of illuminated manuscripts or botanical drawings or whatever so "they can be enjoyed by a lot more people". Maybe that has its virtues but it is very ignorant of historical and archival values.

Also I can't believe her mode of research was to start listing them on Etsy. This woman sounds like she has no real curiosity in the trinkets and pics she collects but just desires to have something pretty and/or a good price.

I'm not saying this set was some kind of Book of Kells, but as a time capsule of a place and time of importance to 20th century art, I bet that in a century curators will be struggling to re-assemble this set.
posted by Rumple at 11:15 AM on March 18, 2011 [6 favorites]


oh my god, the math poster is amazing. I want it!
posted by milestogo at 11:55 AM on March 18, 2011


Talk about an archivist's nightmare. And don't fool yourself, people didn't just "used to" break up books - they still do it rather routinely. Go into nearly any used bookstore and check out their boxes of maps & prints. Almost all of them will have been sliced out of a book, an atlas, old magazines or newspapers. All context is lost. It's also one of the biggest problems for rare books and special collections departments in libraries - people ask to see some rare book, go and sit down to look at it, pull our a hidden razor blade and slice out an illustration or map or whatever, fold it up, stuff it in their jacket, and bring the book back. The librarian puts it back on the shelf and no one discovers the single page is missing for years. And try getting the police to care about a missing page from a book.
posted by waitingtoderail at 12:05 PM on March 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


Take Tea and See.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 12:08 PM on March 18, 2011


From the etsy listings: "They will look great framed, or they are ready to use in your next art project!"

Aaaargh . . .
posted by waitingtoderail at 12:11 PM on March 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm not saying this set was some kind of Book of Kells, but as a time capsule of a place and time of importance to 20th century art, I bet that in a century curators will be struggling to re-assemble this set.

I get that, Rumple. The comment I was responding to wasn't about keeping the box together for archival purposes, but about keeping it together to increase the amount of money this woman could rake in. I wasn't meaning to imply that it's a good idea to break up the collection (I agree that it's not), but rather that maybe making the biggest profit possible wasn't her goal.

Snarky rephrasing of the comment I was responding to was not the best way of making that point; I should have said it more directly.
posted by ocherdraco at 12:52 PM on March 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


According to the link the box wasn't complete when it was purchased. The drawing by Mapplethorpe is missing, for instance.
posted by CCBC at 1:18 PM on March 18, 2011


Probably would have sold for a lot more if they were kept together.

Maybe yes, maybe no. And then again, sold together, it might well be bought by someone who - broke it up to sell piecemeal. You can't win.

Painful memory - back in the eighties a bookstore near Astor Place in NY, nasty place (the shop, not Astor Place, or even NY), the owners exuded an ugliness of spirit that I normally don't associate with book stores. They covered most all their books in plastic to prevent perusers, which certainly lost me as a customer since I want to get a sense of what;s on offer. Anyway, they also had a rare and used sideline, and the last time I ever went in, there were the owners, razoring the pages of an incunable to sell page by page. Not even one with particularly striking typeface never mind maps or illustrations, not vellum, not already missing many pages- this was a full fledged survivor of the renaissance, and a classic text as I seem to recall, not bumf.

Bothers me to this day, as you can see.

try getting the police to care about a missing page from a book


There are happyish endings.
posted by IndigoJones at 1:19 PM on March 18, 2011


Reminds me of this recently side bared question actually. I mean, I'm sure it is a wonderful Art Neveau dining room set. So then, why aren't you keeping it? Oh, you have only Mid Century Modern in your house. Right, I noticed that was popular.. I guess that's why your set is only worth $4000 after being broken up.

Also, archives have limited space.

In conclusion, please dial back the kvetching a notch.
posted by Chuckles at 3:15 PM on March 18, 2011


There's some beautifully hand-kerned type there. Mosquito's-tweeter tight, but that was the prevailing style.
posted by Haruspex at 3:26 PM on March 18, 2011


Will I get banned if I confess I bought more than 1, iincluding the Math one at the request of
my art student daughter?
posted by Ideefixe at 6:52 PM on March 18, 2011


Probably would have sold for a lot more if they were kept together.

There may not be a such thing as a set kept together. "Collect 'em all" is probably the only way to go.

Will someone please explain RitaSue B. Siegel to me? Hipster?
posted by rhizome at 11:06 PM on March 18, 2011


Ritasue Spiegel.

As the posters were made as the class of 67's yearbook, er, yearbox, I'd guess that there must be more around, gathering dust in attics and basements.
posted by Ideefixe at 7:52 AM on March 19, 2011


Well sure. I was referring more to her look as an artifact of the times.
posted by rhizome at 11:39 AM on March 20, 2011


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