Smile (art magazine)

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This article is about the art magazine. For the magazine for teenage girls, see Smile (magazine).

SMILE is an international magazine of multiple origins. Since 1984, an estimated 100 different issues of SMILE have been published by different people in different countries of the world.

Smile Magazine produced by Stewart Home in 1985


SMILE was launched in February 1984 in London by Stewart Home. He described it as the official organ of 'Generation Positive', a "movement" which consisted solely of himself. In the second issue, published in April 1984, Home suggested that all magazines be called SMILE. Artists Mark Pawson and Erica Smith issued the next Smile magazine in London in the summer of 1984. Versions had appeared in Germany and the USA by the end of the year. During 1985 editions of SMILE had appeared throughout Europe and the USA. When Home joined Neoism, a subcultural network whose participants collectively used the identity of Monty Cantsin, SMILE became closely associated to Neoism, too, with several Neoists and mail artists releasing their own versions of the magazine. In 1989, a magazine entitled Smile - History Lesson catalogued over 100 issues which had been produced by the end of 1987. Stewart Home produced 11 issues of SMILE, the last being published in 1989 prior to the Glasgow 'Festival of Plagiarism' and the Art Strike 1990-1993. Andy Martin and the musical group Academy 23 produced 26 issues of Smile between 1992 and 2001. Other editions were published by the rest of the Neoist network and anyone else who felt like it. For this reason it is impossible to know how many issues of the magazine exist and how many people have produced their own editions. An exhibition of SMILE magazines curated by Simon Ford was held at the Victoria and Albert Museum London between 20 March and 10 August 1992. The catalogue for this event was itself a further issue of SMILE magazine.

SMILE Magazine produced by Mark Pawson in 1987, cataloguing his collection of small plastic babies (toys)


The title SMILE alludes to the 1970s Mail art magazine FILE published by the Canadian artist group General Idea. FILE in turn was a play on the title and typography of Life (magazine). Before SMILE, the Mail art magazines VILE and BILE parodied FILE. SMILE conversely mutated into Limes, Miles, Emils, Snarl, Slime, Smirk, C-Nile, Lisme and iMmortal LIES.

The fixed name SMILE for a magazine that anyone could produce corresponded to the names Monty Cantsin and Karen Eliot which were chiefly shared among practitioners of Neoism.

SMILE Magazine produced by John Berndt in Baltimore, Maryland, USA - 1989

Known SMILE Issues[edit]