SMS: A Collection of Multiples

40th Anniversary Exhibition

Released in 1968, the SMS portfolio represented a collaboration between some of the most important artists of the 20th century.  Centered around   a loft on Manhattan's Upper West Side rented and maintained by the American Surrealist William Copley, SMS (a coy abbreviation for "Shit Must Stop") was an open-ended collective that epitomized the community ethos of the late 1960s. Frequented by artists, curators, performers and composers both accomplished and aspiring, Copley's loft became renowned for its utopian morale and hospitable working conditions, which included "a buffet perpetually replenished by nearby Zabar's Delicatessen, an open bar, and a pay phone with a cigar box filled with dimes." [Carter Ratcliff, "SMS: Art in Real Time," from SMS: A Collection of Multiples. Exhibition catalog. Published by Reinhold-Brown Gallery, NY. Oct. 1988.]

The six volumes of the SMS portfolio were the crowning achievement of Copley's experiment, embodying the spirit of the collective and serving as time capsules of an extraordinary moment in American art.  Bypassing the institutions of museums and galleries, the portfolios were mailed directly to their subscribers, opening a direct line of communication between artist and audience.  Each portfolio included meticulously editioned works by a roster of artists both world-famous and obscure--as well as some tongue-in-cheek contributions by art dealers and critics--each of whom received $100 for their contribution regardless of reputation or medium. Among the many artists and composers represented are Marcel Duchamp, Roy Lichtenstein, Man Ray, Christo, Richard Hamilton, Claes Oldenberg, John Cage, Terry Riley, and Yoko Ono.

Davidson Galleries is proud to celebrate the 40th anniversary of SMS by exhibiting a complete set of all six portfolios.

catalog Publications:
SMS: A Collection of Multiples, 40th Anniversary Exhibition
Exhibition catalog. 12 full-color pages. 11 x 8-1/2 inches. $5 + tax & shipping.

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SMS No. 1: February 1968

Published by The Letter Edged in Black Press

Edition 2000

SMS No. 2: April 1968

Published by The Letter Edged in Black Press

Edition 2000

SMS No. 3: June 1968

Published by The Letter Edged in Black Press

Edition 2000

SMS No. 4: August 1968

Published by The Letter Edged in Black Press

Edition 2000

SMS No. 5: October 1968

Published by The Letter Edged in Black Press

Edition 2000

SMS No. 6: December 1968

Published by The Letter Edged in Black Press

Edition 2000