S.M.S. Numbers 1-6 complete, February-December 1968

New York: The Letter Edged in Black Press. 1968 [1988 issue]. 6 decorated paper folders, about 28 x 18.5 cm, are stuffed with loose multiples commissioned by Copley for his inventive publication. This set is housed in seven custom Plexiglas cases and came from the later distributor, Reinhold-Brown Gallery of New York. Among the many artists represented are Christo, James Lee Byars, Richard Hamilton, Walter de Maria, La Monte Young & Marian Zazeela, Marcel Duchamp, Nicolas Calas, Ray Johnson, Meret Oppenheim, Bruce Conner, Man Ray, H.C. Westermann, Terry Riley, Arman, Roy Lichtenstein, John Cage, Bruce Nauman, Yoko Ono, Mel Ramos, Lawrence Weiner, Diter Rot, and Claes Oldenburg. In 1981 Copley donated many unsold sets to the New Museum, New York. Starting in 1988 Reinhold-Brown began exhibiting and offering these original sets extensively all around the country, with a few changes. Early copies of Number 3 contained a reel-to-reel tape of a musical composition by Terry Riley; a similar tape by La Monte Young & Marian Zazeela appeared in Number 4. Originally, just 500 each of the original tapes were supplied, instead of the usual edition of 2000, and many of those were stolen from storage after the very first sets were assembled. Reinhold-Brown replaced the missing works with cassettes. In the absence of proof—an original Letter Edged in Black mailing carton, for instance—it seems likely that many copies of S.M.S. on the market now are from the 1988 issue. Each issue comes with a table of contents and a diagram showing the sequence of insertion of pieces within the folder. Only sets like one I offered in February 2002 with the tapes and an actual broken teacup in Yoko Ono’s “Mend Piece for John” in Number 5 can be considered first edition, first issue. Later copies contain her poem wrapped around a tube of glue, which is attached with pink ribbon to instructions advising the owner to break a teacup and mend it. Number 5 in this set was originally sold by Reinhold-Brown lacking the instructions and materials to make a “three-dimensional Pop sculpture” by Mel Ramos. Richard Artschwager’s original white artwork for the cover of Number 6 was stained when some coffee splashed on it, and the artist chose to have it reproduced that way. The actual chocolate bar in Diter Rot's piece for Number 6 “proved to be unfeasible” in the Reinhold-Brown version, but his 4 cards in color are present. Uncharacteristically, a seventh Plexiglas case completes this set to hold the two cassettes, the catalogue for the traveling show, and a publication by Copley called “The Barber’s Shop” about a legal action for alleged copyright infringement against a barber who used a little sketch of the monumental Picasso sculpture at the Chicago Civic Center on his business card. Very fine. Please inquire about payment options before ordering. **Free domestic or international shipping with direct order. Item #38601

Price: $6,000.00