SMS: A Portfolio of Multiples

Press Release

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  • Richard Hamilton
  • Nancy Reitkopf
  • Marcel Duchamp
  • Bruce Conner
  • Meret Oppenheim
  • Joseph Kosuth
  • Man Ray
  • John Cage
  • Bruce Nauman
  • Yoko Ono
  • Mel Ramos
  • Richard Artschwager

In 1968 painters, sculptors, filmakers, photographers, composers, poets, and writers converged on Manhattan's Upper West Side.

They came at the invitation of the American Surrealist William Copley. They left having contributed to a project which thirty years later remains unsurpassed in scope.

Every two months the SMS Studios shipped a boxed set of multiple objects direct to subscribers, uncensored and unedited by curators, dealers and other intermediaries. The February mail brought a mylar and paper construction of a classic Christo storefront, Richard Hamilton's "A Postal Card for Mother", and Nancy Reitkopf's luggage labels from the S.S. Titanic, the Hindenberg, and Calvary.

April brought Marcel Duchamp's seven minute recording of his word game "contrepetrie", a stack of dollar bills as envisioned by Bruce Conner, and Meret Oppenheim's debossed print of a fur-covered hand-held mirror.

With June came Joseph Kosuth's four dictionary entries for the word 'abstract', Man Ray's version of a famous self portrait of Leonardo Da Vinci complete with cigar stub, and four letters from H.C. Westermann.

August included materials to construct an Arman piece, John Cage's "Diary : How to Improve the World (You will Only Make Matters Worse) continued", and a handy "100 Years Calendar" from On Kawara. October's installment featured Bruce Nauman's sound piece "Footsteps" with instructions to play "as loud and as long as you can stand it", Yoko Ono's "Mend Piece for John" which included materials and instructions for mending a broken tea cup, and Mel Ramos' "Candy" with materials and instructions to assemble a Pop Art Sculpture from a Baby Ruth wrapper.

And finally December arrived packaged in a portfolio designed by Richard Artschwager complete with accidental coffee spills meticulously reproduced along with Claes Oldenburg's menus for seven "Unattended Lunches"

When all was said and done, 73 artists spanning three generations participated in the portfolios. In addition to the number and caliber of artists represented, SMS was remarkable for its fabrication quality, the production of a historical record, and perhaps most importantly, the preservation of the spirit of an extraordinary era.

SMS opens 19 January and continues through 11 March 1995 at I.C. located 100 Wooster Street/2 Floor open Wednesday to Saturday 1-6 PM and by appointment. Please contact Susan Inglett at 212/343-0573 and fax 212/343-0574 for more information.