EIDIA House presents
William N. Copley’s S.M.S “SHIT MUST STOP”
“In 1968 you could own a Duchamp, a Christo, a Lichtenstein, an Oldenburg, a Mel Ramos, an Arman, a Man Ray and works by scores of other artists for $125. S.M.S. was a last breath before art became corporate, and S.M.S. is still one of the most compelling compendiums of art you can buy today.” Susan Reinhold who organized an S.M.S. exhibition and catalog at Reinhold-Brown Gallery [Madison Ave. New York] in 1988, corresponding via email with EIDIA
Opening reception Saturday, June 11, 2016
Exhibition two week run: June 11 to 25, 2016
Hours 1-6pm, Wednesday – Saturday (or by appointment)
For the next Plato’s Cave exhibition (#24) EIDIA - Melissa P. Wolf and Paul Lamarre present a special exhibition of S.M.S., William N. Copley’s “Shit Must Stop.” The S.M.S. Portfolio was published and assembled by Copley aka CPLY and the artist Dimitri Petrov (assisted by numerous volunteers) in a factory loft space on Manhattan's Upper West Side, above Zabar’s. Containing the total output of 73 artists’ contributions, the six S.M.S. portfolios were mailed to subscribers, in two-month intervals, between February and December 1968.
“As you will see it is a mixture of many things. We are not trying to push any kind of art but rather to suggest how many different ways ideas can go. So we include the old and the new in a context that is meant above all to surprise and make of the box itself a sort of adult joy.”
William N. Copley speaking of his S.M.S. “SHIT MUST STOP” Portfolio, Joseph Cornell papers, 1804-1986, bulk 1939-1972. [General Correspondence, Box 2, Folder 3] in the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
EIDIA suggests that if you cannot make the trip to Houston Texas to visit the Menil Collection retrospective exhibition "William N. Copley: The World According to CPLY” (including S.M.S.) then Plato’s Cave is your next destination of choice to view up close these compelling and marvelous portfolio editions. (With white gloves provided, some limited handling inspection will be permitted.)
EIDIA and Plato's Cave feels a strong affinity to CPLY given his predilection for; the merger of art and life, the use of acronyms and his life long collaboration with other artists. We feel that S.M.S. is actually more appreciated by artists, as these works are objects of wit, poignancy—highly tuned and charged with an agency that for the most part demands a developed acuity to appreciate.
Note that the exhibition run is just for two weeks from June 11 to 25th so mark your calendar. Also by appointment, Wednesday-Sunday, 1-6pm.
"Susan Reinhold…thinks Copley and his collaborators were ahead of their time. “They didn’t like...the art market becoming so commercialized,” [Reinhold] says. “They didn’t like what art galleries were doing. So they were going to do it direct,” [Reinhold] says, “Shit Must Stop" was their protest against what they perceived was too much power in the hands of gallery owners and museums and not enough power for the artists.”
Object Focus The Book Guidebook, 2010, Sharon Mizota, “Shit Must Stop, The under-known precedent of William Copley’s experimental", pp.32.
The agenda of Copley’s “SHIT MUST STOP” portfolio still resonates today just as vibrant as it did in 1968. The phrase “SHIT MUST STOP” also rang out across the US during the escalation of the Vietnam War—a war for military and corporate world dominance. Not much has changed.
The following is the original Copley invitation and statement of S.M.S.
""The Letter Edged in Black Press Inc. has been established by William Copley, President and Provocateur and Dimitri Petrov, Vice-President and Henchman.
The first production of the press will be the bi-monthly portfolio, S.M.S., containing in each issue seven or eight intensely personal manifestations by the new as well as established artists in all media. The most advanced technical and production methods will be used whenever necessary to make the artists' statements as complete as possible. The face size of the portfolio, when closed is 7" x 11" with sufficient thickness to accommodate a variety of objects. The publishers compete sympathy with the artists' objectives will make available expanded use of new materials in every category (for the composer, choreographer, sculptor, poet, painter, writer, filmmaker, all inventors) and the fresh application of conventional means. We welcome the artist who, until now has had no publisher for three-dimensional works and will expect to make the presentation of his work possible.
The primary concern of the publishers is to realize the poetic statement in review form and to liberate the artist from the restrictions of format.
It is the presence of the artist's personality in the vocabulary and form of his own choosing that is desired, not an exercise in conformity.
Artists will be paid for each contribution used and a copyrighting method has been developed to favor and project the artist and his work. Inclusion will be generally by invitation but unsolicited material is welcome and will be returned quickly if not found useful.
Bi-monthly issues will appear in an edition of 2500 copies. The major portion of each edition will be sold as individual copies or by annual subscription, the remaining reserved copies to be made available as deluxe sets of the year's production, signed by the participating artists and suitably boxed. An additional plan is being developed in order that special copies with be easily available to artists."
The six S.M.S. Portfolios of S.M.S. contain the following 73 artists’ editioned artworks:
Portfolio 1: Irving Petlin, Su Braden, James Lee Byars, Christo, Walter de Maria, Richard Hamilton, Kaspar Koening, Julien Levy, Sol Mednick, Nancy Reitkopf, La Monte Young & Mariann Zazeela
Portfolio 2: Marcel Duchamp, Nicolas Calas, Bruce Conner, Marcia Herscovitz, Alain Jacquet, Ray Johnson, Lee Lozano, Meret Oppenheim, Bernard Pfreim, George Reavey, Clovis Trouille
Portfolio 3: John Battan, Aftograf, Enrico Baj, William Bryant, Dick Higgins, Joseph Kosuth, Ronnie Landfield, Roland Penrose, Man Ray, H.C. Westermann, Hannah Weiner, Terry Riley
Portfolio 4: Robert Stanley, Arman, Paul Bergtold, John Cage, Hollis Frampton, On Kawara, Roy Lichtenstein, Lil Picard, Domenico Rotella, Robert Watts, Princess Winifred, La Monte Young, Marian Zazeela
Portfolio 5: Congo, William Anthony, Wall Batterton, William Copley, Edward Fitzgerald, Neil Jenney, Angus MacLise, Bruce Nauman, Yoko Ono, Mel Ramos, Robert Rohm, William Schwedler, Diane Wakoski, Lawrence Weiner
Portfolio 6: Richard Artschwager, Ed Bereal, Deiter Roth, Betty Dodson, Ronoldo Ferri, John Giorno, Toby Mussman, Adrian Nutbeem, Claes Oldenburg, Mischa Petrov, Jean Reavey, Bernar Venet
For PLATO’S CAVE, EIDIA House Inc. Co-Directors Melissa P. Wolf and Paul Lamarre (aka EIDIA) curate invited fellow artists to create an installation with an accompanying edition for the underground space PLATO’S CAVE. Wolf and Lamarre also curate special exhibits such as S.M.S. EIDIA House functions as an art gallery and meeting place, collaborating with artists to create "socially radical" art forms—framed within the discipline of aesthetic research.