SMS (Shit Must Stop): A Collection of Original Multiples
Published in 1968 by The Letter Edged in Black Press
Reinhold-Brown Gallery New York, 1988
Facsimile reproduction of a collection of 73 original multiples in various formats and techniques, kept in 6 portfolios.
The SMS (Shit Must Stop) workshop’s periodical was a portfolio of works mailed directly from American Surrealist William Copley’s studio to its subscribers, for the year of 1968. Compiled of art in various media, from prints to die-cut assemblages to handwritten letters to cassette tapes and more, the result was a collaborative effort in presenting the artists to the public directly, forgoing galleries and dealers for a more intimate and powerful approach. Published by The Letter Edged in Black Press, the works created by each artist had to be duplicated 2000 times. These included traditional techniques that could be easily reproduced, such as prints and cassette tapes, but also included unique items more laborious to replicate, such as bowties that had to be burnt individually (SMS #4), or empty pill capsules assembled and carefully placed into each portfolio box (SMS #1). Accidents were often preserved to maintain the immediacy and personal nature of the work. Included in this complete collection of SMS portfolios are works by Marcel Duchamp, Roy Lichtenstein, Man Ray, Alain Jacquet, Christo, Claes Oldenburg, Meret Oppenheim, Yoko Ono, and many others.
Bill Copley was not interested in the financial side of the project, and for that reason all the multiples have been made with great care, regardless of the costs involved. All the participating artists received the same fee, US$ 100,- This quality, this working in the same enthousiastic spirit from the East Village, made it possible to realize this publication, which, in this form, will probably never be repeated. In 1988 the two music tapes were published (and inserted in this collection), who were originally planned for the SMS portfolios, but at the time were not included. In very good condition