Centered around a loft on Manhattan's Upper West Side rented and maintained by the American Surrealist William Copley, SMS ("Shit Must Stop") was an open-ended collective that epitomized the community ethos of the late 1960s. Frequented by artists, curators, performers and composers both accomplished and aspiring, Copley's loft became renowned for its utopian morale and hospitable working conditions.
The six volumes of the SMS portfolio were the crowning achievement of Copley's experiment, embodying the spirit of the collective and serving as time capsules of an extraordinary moment in American art. Bypassing the institutions of museums and galleries, the portfolios were mailed directly to their subscribers, opening a direct line of communication between artist and audience. Each portfolio included meticulously editioned works by a roster of artists both world-famous and obscure--as well as some tongue-in-cheek contributions by art dealers and critics--each of whom received $100 for their contribution regardless of reputation or medium. Among the many artists and composers represented are Marcel Duchamp, Roy Lichtenstein, Man Ray, Christo, Richard Hamilton, Claes Oldenberg, John Cage, Terry Riley, and Yoko Ono.