Founded in New York City in 1968 by the artist, collector and dealer, William Copley, S.M.S (Shit Must Stop) was an art collection in a box, filled with small-scale, and often whimsical, artworks available by subscription. S.M.S editions were delivered to subscribers through the postal service, which offered Copley and his collaborator Dmitri Petrov a way to circumvent the art market and make contempoary art accesible to a wider audience.
Inspired by Copley’s mentor and friend, Marcel Duchamp, and his famous work Boîte-en-valise, S.M.S. was conceived as an interdisciplinary and intergenerational publication that would present the work of established and unknown artists without hierarchy. Regardless of their level of fame, each of the participants received $100 for their contribution.
S.M.S. brought together the works by 73 artists such as Bruce Conner, Richard Hamilton, Ray Johnson, On Kawara, Joseph Kosuth, Roy Lichtenstein, Marcel Duchamp, Lee Lozano, Bruce Nauman, Yoko Ono, Meret Oppenheim, Lil Picard, Man Ray, Terry Riley, Dieter Roth, Lawrence Weiner or La Monte Young, amongst others.
The resulting editions ranged from printed matter (drawings, photographs, flyers, clippings, stickers, folded posters etc), to objects (bow-ties, gloves), and sound pieces on cassettes or 7” records. Amongst the editioned works is a paper hat by Lichtenstein, a vinyl record by Duchamp in which he recites tongue twisters, poems written by Mimmo Rotella during his prison sentence, a calendar for 100 years made by On Kawara, and an action piece by Yoko Ono titled “Mend piece for John” which instructs: “Take your favourite cup. Break it in many pieces with a hammer. Repair it with this glue and this poem”. Included in Ono ́s work is a cardbaord box that contains a ribbon, a plastic bag, the instructions for the action, a poem dedicated to John Lennon, and a tube of glue.
A total of 6 boxes were published, which distributed 73 editions contained inside. In 2015, The Davis Museum, Wellesley College, partnered with Sensate Journal and the Copley Estate to compile a complete archive of S.M.S, which is accessible via this online here. A complete archive of S.M.S is accessible via this link: https://sms.sensatejournal.com/
In the gallery we will present the 6 original boxes, in their complete form, as edited by Copley, alongside a new box executed by Bombon Projects in an extension of the spirit of S.M.S. Included in this new box are works by artists Babi Badalov, Mauro Cerqueira, Angela de la Cruz, Bernat Daviu, Anna Dot, Rosa Tharrats, Joana Escoval, Enric Farrés, Pere Llobrera, Josep Maynou, Jordi Mitjà, Jeanne Roue, Aldo Urbano and Affaire.
In keeping with the spirit of Copley’s Project, all of the participating artists have received the same artist fee for their participation, and the profit generated by the sale of the boxes will be split equally between all of the participants. This new box, in an edition of 10, is an exact replica in form and design as the original portfolios of S.M.S.
We intend this exhibition to be a tribute to the spirit of S.M.S, to which we feel very close.