Sims Reed Rare Books×

S. M. S. (Shit Must Stop). Deluxe Issue. Nos. 1 - 6. (All Published)

S. M. S. Copley, William

New York. The Letter Edged in Black Press. 1968
A complete set of the deluxe issue of William Copley's S. M. S. ('Shit Must Stop') periodical.

From the edition limited to 2,000 copies (although fewer were assembled), with this one of the rare deluxe sets with the majority of the multiples signed by the participating artists.

'S[hit]. M[ust]. S[top]. is a portable gallery of contemporary hyper-awareness.' (From a manifesto for The Letter Edged in Black Press).

In the deluxe issue, almost every item in the set is signed by the contributing artist. Notable exceptions are Autograf, the Russian writer who contributed to issue 3, who was unable to sign his work for political reasons: 'Autograf is a pseudonym for a poet in Moscow ... it is important for him to maintain his anonymity'. Congo, the infamous chimpanzee with a taste for abstract painting did not sign his cover for issue 5: 'S. M. S. regrets we are unable to obtain his signature for these deluxe copies'.

Highlights of the periodical, which contains a large collection of multiples in various techniques and materials (paper, board, plastic, facsimiles, letters, books, objects, tapes, etc.), include Man Ray's piece depicting Leonardo da Vinci smoking a cigar, Richard Hamilton's nostalgic signed postcard with the inscription 'Wish you were here', Yoko Ono's plastic bag with poem, glue andthe instruction that urges you to break your favourite cup and repair it with the glue and the poem, as well as signed pieces by Lichtenstein, James Lee Byars, Bruce Nauman, Meret Oppenheim, Christo, Claes Oldenburg, Alain Jacquet, Ray Johnson, Dick Higgins, Arman, Mel Ramos, John Cage, Di[e]ter Rot[h], La Monte Young, Marcel Duchamp (the cover for issue 2 which was never signed due to Duchamp's death) and others. Each issue has the a leaf listing the works included signed by Copley.

SMS 1: James Lee Byars, Christo, Richard Hamilton, La Monte Young & others.
SMS 2: Marcel Duchamp, Alain Jacquet, Meret Oppenheim, George Reavey & others.
SMS 3: Enrico Baj, Dick Higgins, Joseph Kosuth, Roland Penrose, Man Ray, Terry Riley & others.
SMS 4: Arman, John Cage, On Kawara, Roy Lichtenstein, Domenico Rotella & others.
SMS 5: William Copley, Bruce Nauman, Yoko Ono, Mel Ramos, Lawrence Weiner.
SMS 6: Dieter Roth, Ronoldo Ferri, Claes Oldenburg, Jean Reavey, Bernar Venet.

William Copley founded his S. M. S. studio in the spirit of the late sixties, the students' revolts, the experiments in art, literature, painting etc. It was during this period that Pop Art, Concept Art, Performance, Minimal Art, and Fluxus were born. In these six portfolios all this is to be found. Copley ensured that money was no object to the realisation of any proposal, which made it possible to replicate a fragment of each artist's oeuvre with great accuracy.

'No manifesto made the claim then, so one must make it now: SMS turned art into the vehicle of Utopian wishes. First, it removed all boundaries between the mediums. Everything ... received equal treatment ... Moreover, SMS bypassed the hierarchical labyrinth of museums and established galleries ... sending art into the world through the mail, it immersed art in the currents of real time ... It [SMS] is a reminder of what is possible when artists have the opportunity to work without impediments. To have an impulse is to realize it. SMS makes a brilliant case for art in real time.' (Carter Ratcliff).
6 portfolios. (346 x 290 mm). A collection of over 70 original multiples, almost all of which are signed, in various formats and techniques, kept in 6 portfolios. Each portfolio with cover designed by a different artist, loose in original printed card mailing boxes as issued.