Stephen Varble became notorious in 1970s New York for his disruptive performance in costumes made from trash and found objects. Born in Owensboro in 1946 and educated at the University of Kentucky, Varble moved to New York in 1969 and established himself as an outsider who mocked elitism, class, and gender. In the later 1970s, he shifted from performance art to drawing and video in an attempt to make art that could be distributed freely and easily. The Xerox machine became an artistic tool, and he started making drawings to be reproduced as xerographic prints. At the same time, he worked on a video epic, titled Journey to the Sun, that he hoped to distribute as "video books."
Institute 193 is proud to publish the first text on this influential and undersung artist in conjunction with our exhibition of his work of the same name. The catalog features a substantial essay by the exhibition’s curator, David J. Getsy, as well as a full reproduction of all the works on view. Poetic, personal, and often perverse, Varble's prints and video conjure a fantasy world of metamorphosis and the openness of gender. They offer fables of spiritual journeys, rituals of purification, and the transformational possibility of the everyday.
Stephen Varble: An Antidote to Nature's Ruin on this Heavenly Globe, Prints and Video of the Early 1980s
Softcover, 5.5 x 8.5 in. / 60 pages / black and white.
Pub Date: 2018
Publisher: Institute 193
Design and production by Ethan Fedele