SMS A Collection of Multiples 'William N. Copley, 1968' For Sale
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SMS A Collection of Multiples 'William N. Copley, 1968'


SMS: A Collection of Multiples S.M.S. is an art collection in a box that was available by subscription in 1968. Through February and December, subscribers were mailed six issues containing assorted works of art curated by William N. Copley. The portfolios consist of “original reproductions" by 73 artists including William Copley, Christo, Marcel Duchamp, Roy Lichtenstein, Joseph Kosuth, Walter de Maria, Yoko Ono, Lawrence Weiner, Richard Artschwager, Man Ray, Bruce Nauman, John Cage, Terry Riley and more. S.M.S. included renowned and unknown artists side by side. As form of protest against galleries, S.M.S. made contemporary art affordable and accessible at a modest price of $125.00 per subscription. The portfolios are all kept in their original display covers. Edition of approximately 2,000 published by Letter Edged in Black Press. Volume No. 1 February 1968 Little Box of Earthquake and Cotton (cover), Irving Penn; Black Dress, James Lee Byars; Chicago Project…, Walter de Maria; My Country ‘Tis of Thee, Kasper Konig; Luggage Labels Nancy Reitkopf; Project for a Bridge, Sue Braden; A Postcard for Mother, Richard Hamilton; Two Propositions in Black, Le Monte Young and Marian Zazeela; Store Front, Christo; Hottentot Apron, Sol Mednick; Pharmaceuticals, Julian Levy. Volume No. 2 April 1968 Seven Minute Recording of Contapetrie, a surrealist word game (cover), Marcel Duchamp; The Mirror of Genoveva, Meret Oppenheim; Three Color Separations, Alain Jacquet; A Two-Year-Old Girl Choked to Death Today on an Easter Egg, Ray Johnson; A Proposed Comic Section for the New York Times, Bernard Pfreim; Farwell to Faust, George Reavey; Album, Clovis Trouille; Legal Tender, Bruce Conner; 10 collages, Marcia Hertscovitz; Cynocephalus & Co., Nicolas Calas. Volume No. 3 June 1968 Untitled abstract landscapes (cover), John Battan; Clouds, William Bryant (Bill Copley); Ode to London, Dick Higgens; Two Drawings, Ronnie Landfield; Bush in Hand, Roland Penrose; The Father of Mona Lisa, Man Ray, signed and numbered; Glove, Enrico Baj; Four Titled Abstracts, Joseph Kosuth; Correspondence, H.C. Westerman; Signal Flag Poem, Hannah Weiner; Poppy Nogoods All Night Flight, Terry Riley; Poems, Atograf. Volume No. 4 August 1968 Untitled (cover), Robert Stanley; Drift Study 4:37:4:05:09:50 5 VII 68, La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela; Permanent Parking Decal, Robert Watts; 100 Year Calendar, On Kawara; Lichtenstein Hat, Roy Lichtenstein; Diary: How to Improve the World (You Will Only Make Matters Worse) continued, John Cage; Phenakistiscope, Hollis Frampton; Asylum Manuscripts, Princess Winifred; 6 Prison Poems, Domenico Rotella; Concept: Bergtold, Paul Bergtold; Tortured color, Arman Fernandez. Volume No. 5 October 1968 Untitled (cover), Congo (Chimpanzee); Custer’s Last Stand (interior of cover), William Anthony; Splendid Person, Wall Batterton; 24 Still Lifes, Edward Fitzgerald; Bucks American, Neil Jenney; The Barber Shop, William Copley; Cut Corners, Robert Rohm; Footsteps, Bruce Nauman; Candy, Mel Ramos; Mend Piece for John, Yoko Ono; The Magellanic Clouds, Diane Wakowski; Against the Grain, William Schwedler; The Inner Pages, Angus MacLise; Turf, Stake, String, Lawrence Weiner. Volume No. 6 December 1968 Untitled (cover), Richard Artschwager; Adora, Jean Reavey; Self Portrait, Ed Bereal; Neon Construction, Ronoldo Ferri; Astrophysics, Bernar Venet; Junior Historical Theatre Playroom Kit , Mischa Petrov; Unattended Lunches, Claes Oldenburg; Friends, Betty Dodson; Twenty Down, Adrian Nutbeem; Johns in Art Galleries, Paul Steiner; 10 Xerox Sheets, Toby Mussman; Chocolate Bar, Diter Rot.  


  • Condition
  • Wear
    Wear consistent with age and use.
  • Dimensions
    H 1 in. x W 7 in. x D 11 in.H 2.54 cm x W 17.78 cm x D 27.94 cm
  • Seller Location
    Chicago, IL
  • Sold As
    Set of 6
  • Reference Number
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About Roy Lichtenstein (Artist)

Roy Lichtenstein is one of the principal figures of the American Pop art movement, along with Andy Warhol, James Rosenquist, Claes Oldenburg and Robert Rauschenberg. Drawing inspiration from comic strips, Lichtenstein appropriated techniques commercial printing in his paintings, introducing a vernacular sensibility to the visual landscape of contemporary art. He employed visual elements such as the halftone dots that comprise a printed image, and a comic-inspired use of primary colors gave his paintings their signature “Pop” palette.

Born and raised in New York City, Lichtenstein enjoyed Manhattan’s myriad cultural offerings and comic books in equal measure. He began painting seriously as a teenager, studying watercolor painting at the Parsons School of Design in the late 1930s, and later at the Art Students League, where he worked with American realist painter Reginald Marsh. He began his undergraduate education at Ohio State University in 1940, and after a three year-stint in the United States Army during World War II, he completed his bachelor’s degree and then his master’s in fine arts. The roots of Lichtenstein’s interest in the convergence of high art and popular culture are evident even in his early years in Cleveland, where in the late 1940s, he taught at Ohio State, designed window displays for a department store and painted his own pieces.

Working at the height of the Abstract Expressionist movement in the 1950s, Lichtenstein deliberately eschewed the sort of painting that was held in high esteem by the art world and chose instead to explore the visual world of print advertising and comics. This gesture of recontextualizing a lowbrow image by importing it into a fine-art context would become a trademark of Lichtenstein’s artistic style, as well as a vehicle for his critique of the concept of good taste. His 1963 painting Whaam! confronts the viewer with an impact scene from the 1962 DC Comic All American Men of War. Isolated from its larger context, this image combines the playful lettering and brightly colored illustration of the original comic with a darker message about military conflict at the height of the cold war. Crying Girl from the same year featured another of Lichtenstein’s motifs — a woman in distress, depicted with a mixture of drama and deadpan humor. His work gained a wider audience by creating a comic-inspired mural for the New York State Pavilion of the 1964 World's Fair, he went on to be represented by legendary New York gallerist Leo Castelli for 30 years.

In the 1970s and ’80s, Lichtenstein experimented with abstraction and began exploring basic elements of painting, as in this 1989 work Brushstroke Contest. In addition to paintings in which the brushstroke itself became the central subject, in 1984 he created a large-scale sculpture called Brushstrokes in Flight for the Port Columbus International Airport in Ohio. Still Life with Windmill from 1974 and the triptych Cow Going Abstract from 1982 both demonstrate a break from his earlier works where the subjects were derived from existing imagery. Here, Lichtenstein paints subjects more in line with the norms of art history — a pastoral scene and a still life — but he has translated their compositions into his signature graphic style, in which visual elements of printed comics are still a defining feature.

Lichtenstein’s work is represented in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, Tate Modern, and many others. He was awarded National Medal of Arts in 1995, two years before he passed away.

About the Seller

4.9 / 5
Associations: 20th Century Specialists
1stdibs seller since 2008
Located in Chicago, IL
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