PK SHOP is pleased to announce an exhibition of works from William N. Copley’s experimental magazine S.M.S (“Shit Must Stop”), published in 1968 by The Letter Edged in Black Press, a collaborative effort that involved some of the most influential artists of the 20th century. Each of six issues of S.M.S. contains a series of multiples tucked into an artist-designed portfolio.
Drawing on his many influences and interests, Copley juxtaposed seminal ideas from the artistic movements of the day with works by artists from earlier periods, including surrealism, Arte Povera, Fluxus and New Realism. Humorous, political or purely aesthetic ideas were reproduced faithfully, to the artists specifications, in a variety of media. Contributing artists included Marcel Duchamp, Man Ray, Roy Lichtenstein, Joseph Kossuth, Ray Johnson, Meret Oppenheim, Christo, Lawrence Weiner, Neil Jenny, Claes Oldenberg, Arman, John Cage, Terry Riley, Walter DeMaria and Yoko Ono (to name just a few). Some of these works required assembly, others were games or recordings to be played, and still others were presented as stories. All engaged and challenged the viewer in distinct ways.
Copley sought to bypass the gallery system and subvert the idea of fine art by sending subscribers an “instant art collection” directly through the mail. The S.M.S. project, which lasted for one year, was a reflection of the counter-culture spirit of the period and a shared view of art by artists from all ages and genres.
William N. Copley (CPLY) was born in 1919 in New York and died in 1996. As a painter, writer, gallerist, collector and publisher, he blazed a path through the territories of post-war European and American art, creating a vital link between the European Surrealists and the American Pop Art movements. His work is included in private and public collections worldwide. He has had retrospective exhibitions at the Kunsthalle, Bern, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam and the Van Abbemuseum, in Eindhoven. He was included in documenta 5 and documenta 7.
In 2010, the Paul Kasmin Gallery presented the exhibition “X-Rated” which traveled to Berlin and London. In 2012, a retrospective at the Frieder Burda Museum in Baden Baden, traveled to the Max Ernst Museum, in Bruhl and the Ahlers Museum, in Hannover, Germany. An exhibition of his work, entitled “William N. Copley: The Patriotism of CPLY and All That” will be on view at Paul Kasmin Gallery from October 18-November 24, 2012.