Hannah Weiner, Signal Flag Poems, from the portfolio "S.M.S. (Shit Must Stop), No. 3" (June 1968). Two folded brochures, includes a pinwheel. Overall: 7 3/4 in. x 6 3/4 in. Museum purchase, The Nancy Gray Sherrill, Class of 1954, Collection Acquisition Fund 2009.393.3.10
Edged in Black: Selections from SMS
Oct 1, 2014 – June 7, 2015

Compiled between 1967 and 1968, the SMS series was one of several important experimental ventures that sought to destabilize the boundary between traditional media, while also making work by the day’s leading artists accessible to those outside of the collector class. Through the generous gift of Nancy Gray Sherrill, Class of 1954, the Davis holds the complete portfolio, which includes work by Marcel Duchamp, Joseph Kosuth and Roy Lichtenstein alongside music by La Monte Young and Terry Riley. 

Curated by Michael Maizels, Mellon New Media Curator/Lecturer.

Generously supported by the Anonymous '70 Endowed Davis Museum Program Fund. 



The Davis Museum and Sensate Journal are extremely proud to partner with the William Copley Estate to present a new and authoritative digital survey of S.M.S. Although many of the artists in S.M.S. are well-known, the magazine has remained relatively obscure, with few artworks receiving attention in scholarship. Consisting of works “to read” as well as “to view,” the magazine can be situated between the library bookshelf and the gallery wall. Yet, the multiplicitous nature of S.M.S. eludes categorization. Several of the pieces require extensive disassembly and reassembly while others must simply be handled in order to be appreciated—whether that means spinning Hollis Frampton’s Phenakistiscope, playing John Giorno’s card game or attempting to read Nicolas Calas’ poem printed on shiny metallic mylar. This project represents the first time that these pieces have been exhaustively documented; viewers all over the world can now listen to the rarely heard audio, read the poetry that has heretofore been buried in artist’s books.