PROSTITUTION.
PROSTITUTION.
PROSTITUTION.
PROSTITUTION.
PROSTITUTION.
PROSTITUTION.
PROSTITUTION.

31.

PROSTITUTION.

Original poster announcing COUM's 'Prostitution' retrospective at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, October 1976: "Coum Transmissions at the ICA Arts Centre from Mon. 18th Oct. 6pm - 26th Oct. 6pm. Opening Performance 6pm Mon. 18th. Music from 'Throbbing Gristle' + 'LSD'. Also Drinks, Striptease Dancers, etc. etc...". Screenprint, illustrated with a multi-colour, heavily pixelated image of Cosey Fanni Tutti. 76.2x50.7cm.

The exhibition was named after Tutti's appearance in an article entitled 'Prostitution' in Curious magazine in 1974, and intended as a critique of capitalism, pornography, and the representation of the female body. It featured 'Magazine Actions' (self-portraits by Tutti appropriated from pornographic magazines), sadomasochistic props and photos from previous COUM actions, and sculptures made from used tampons and other materials ("Tampax Romana"). It also included a growing wall of press cuttings culled from the media furore the exhibition provoked, with new ones displayed daily by Tutti and Chris Carter.

The show's opening party involved a stripper (Shelley), a transvestite bodyguard (Java), the simultaneous (though gradual) termination of COUM Transmissions and the first public performance of Throbbing Gristle. The event was a succès de scandale and launched TG and its new genre of industrial music into the uneasy mix of the London art world and the burgeoning punk scene. Chelsea, managed by John Krivine, with Billy Idol on guitar, and soon to mutate into Generation X, played their first gig on the opening night, billed as 'LSD' by Genesis P-Orridge in order "to annoy everyone", and, according to vocalist Gene October, to prevent fans of the Sex Pistols and Clash turning up (five days later The Clash themselves played as part of COUM's week-long programme).

The poster's print run is unknown, but it's likely to have been small. This copy, recently discovered in worn condition, has since undergone professional restoration, and while it exhibits signs of a life well-lived, it appears intact, bright, and with good colour. Two old horizontal tape marks to the verso remain, as well as a small biro squiggle to the recto, some superficial creasing, and a few old corner pinholes with associated corner wear. Overall, a Very Good example of this rare and important poster.

Sold