Jul 05 2018

Lecture | “After all, isn’t America’s garbage the most valuable in the world?”: Stephen Varble’s Gutter Art in 1970s New York

Thurs | 7PM


On the occasion of READYMADES BELONG TO EVERYONE, Swiss Institute together with the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in Fine Arts are pleased to present a talk by David J. Getsy on the infamous 1970s performance artist Stephen Varble, the subject of the upcoming retrospective Rubbish and Dreams: The Genderqueer Performance Art of Stephen Varble at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art.

Getsy will discuss how Varble repurposed trash, stolen objects, and ironic readymades to make elaborate, gender-confounding costume sculptures. Taking to the streets, the artist staged unauthorized and impromptu performances in galleries, banks, boutiques, and city streets. His protest works attacked the commercial sites of art and luxury, and he infuriated the art world by interrupting their business in his glamorous “gutter art.”

Please RSVP to rsvp@swissinstitute.net. Please note: events at Swiss Institute are limited capacity, and entry is on a first-come, first-served basis.

David J. Getsy is the curator for Rubbish and Dreams: The Genderqueer Performance Art of Stephen Varble, opening September 29, 2018 at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art. His books include Abstract Bodies: Sixties Sculpture in the Expanded Field of Gender (Yale 2015), Scott Burton: Collected Writings on Art and Performance (Soberscove 2012), Rodin: Sex and the Making of Modern Sculpture (Yale 2010), and, most recently, the anthology of artists’ writings, Queer (MIT 2016).  He teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he is the Goldabelle McComb Finn Distinguished Professor of Art History.

Image: Peter Hujar, Stephen Varble, SoHo, Franklin Street (I), 22 March 1976. © Peter Hujar Archive.

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