May 132019
 

ONE Gallery in West Hollywood is currently showing The Gutter Art of Stephen Varble: Genderqueer Performance Art in the 1970s photographs by Greg Day. The artist died in his late 30s and would have remained virtually unknown if not for curator David Getsy researching, collecting, and documenting everything he could find on Varble.

His performance pieces were often both audacious and humorous and the exhibition details several of them. Varble popped open blood filled condom breasts in protest at a bank (proceeding to use the blood to sign a check for “zero million dollars”), crashed the Met Gala and the premiere of Tommy, and gave “costume tours” of big name art galleries in Soho, challenging the status quo. In our current world of corporate bailouts, rampant capitalism, and celebration of the rich, its fun to imagine what kind of work Varble might have created today in response.

From the press release-

In costumes made from street trash, food waste, and stolen objects, Stephen Varble (1946–1984) took to the streets of 1970s New York City to perform his “Gutter Art.” With disruption as his aim, he led uninvited costumed tours through the galleries of SoHo, occupied Fifth Avenue gutters, and burst into banks and boutiques in his gender-confounding ensembles. Varble made the recombination of signs for gender a central theme in his increasingly outrageous costumes and performances. While maintaining he/him as his pronouns, Varble performed gender as an open question in both his life and his work, sometimes identifying as a female persona, Marie Debris, and sometimes playing up his appearance as a gay man. Only later would the term “genderqueer” emerge to describe the kind of self-made, non-binary gender options that Varble adopted throughout his life and in his disruptions of the 1970s art world.

At the pinnacle moment of Varble’s public performances, the photographer Greg Day (b. 1944) captured the inventiveness and energy of his genderqueer costume confrontations. Trained as an artist and anthropologist and with a keen eye for documenting ephemeral culture as it flourished, Day took hundreds of photographs of Varble’s trash couture, public performances, and events in 1975 and 1976. Varble understood the importance of photographers, and Day was his most important photographic collaborator. This exhibition brings together a selection of Day’s photographs of Varble performing his costume works and also includes Day’s photographs of Varble’s friends and collaborators such as Peter Hujar, Jimmy DeSana, Shibata Atsuko, Agosto Machado, and Warhol stars Jackie Curtis, Taylor Mead, and Mario Montez.

Varble sought to make a place for himself outside of art’s institutions and mainstream cultures all the while critiquing them both. The story of Varble told through Day’s photographs is both about their synergistic artistic friendship and about the queer networks and communities that made such an anti-institutional and genderqueer practice imaginable. Together, Varble and Day worked to preserve the radical potential of Gutter Art for the future.

The Gutter Art of Stephen Varble builds upon the 2018 retrospective exhibition of Stephen Varble’s work at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, New York, titled Rubbish and Dreams: The Genderqueer Performance Art of Stephen Varble, as featured in the New York Times on January 11, 2019.  The new ONE Gallery exhibition, with its focus on the collaboration of Varble with the photographer Greg Day, will explore the ways in which Varble’s disruptive guerilla performance art has lived on primarily through vibrant photographs that captured his inventive costumes, transformed trash, and public confrontations.

This exhibition closes 5/17/19.

*For an additional perspective on the artist- Stephen Varble was friends with a 14-year old girl in NYC named Fernanda Eberstadt who kept diaries detailing her time with him. She wrote an interesting piece for Granta about him, reproduced here.

May 092019
 

Worn-Tin- Cycles

Things to do in Los Angeles this weekend (5/9-5/12/19)-

Thursday

LACMA is having a free screening of Raging Bull which includes a pre-screening conversation with producer/director Irwin Winkler and screenwriter Nicholas Pileggi

Destroyer is performing at Lodge Room

There is a free screening at the Japanese American National Museum of the documentary Masters of Modern Design: The Art of the Japanese American Experience, with a Q&A with the filmmakers and some of the people interviewed for the film to follow

As part of the Artists on Artists series at MOCA Grand Avenue, Miljohn Ruperto will be discussing the exhibition Open House: Elliott Hundley currently on view (free admission to the museum on Thursdays)

Al Green is playing at The Greek Theatre with Jessy Wilson

Downtown Los Angeles Art Walk is back with several galleries staying open late

Yamashiro’s Night Market returns to the hills above Hollywood tonight from 5-10pm- catch a free shuttle from Mosaic Church to get there

 

Friday

Worn-Tin is playing with Chaos Chaos at The Hi Hat

Composer Nico Muhly will be performing at The Theatre at Ace Hotel

There is a midnight showing of Office Space for its 20th Anniversary at Vista Theatre

Aquarium of the Pacific’s free Shark Lagoon Nights is a chance to have a drink and snacks while checking out the sharks

Sugar Candy Mountain, Flaural, and Hooveriii are performing at The Echo

The Courtneys, Ian Sweet, and Automatic are playing at Zebulon

Phantom Planet are playing at Lodge Room

 

Saturday

ONE Gallery is hosting Rear Opening: A Performance Tribute to the Gutter Art of Stephen Varble, an afternoon program with performances by mutimedia artist Jason Jenn, aka the Troubadour Trixter, songs by Yozmit, the internationally celebrated visual artist, avant-garde party-artist, and singer/songwriter, and a musical tribute by Enrique Jesus Hernandez, the latinx, performance rock artist and domestic abuse activist. This program is presented in conjunction with the exhibition The Gutter Art of Stephen Varble: Genderqueer Performance Art in the 1970s, Photographs by Greg Day currently on view in the gallery.

At Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena, artist Sandra de la Loza will be in conversation with poet, teacher and community activist Sesshu Foster in conjunction with de la Loza’s exhibition Mi Casa Es Su Casa

Angelo De Augustine is playing at Lodge Room

Bad Suns are playing at The Wiltern with Carlie Hanson opening

 

Sunday

Eels are playing at The Theatre at Ace Hotel with Robert Ellis opening

East Los Angeles Art Walk takes place the second Sunday of every month and is a chance see work by local artists and  support local businesses in the neighborhood

Illuminati Hotties are opening for American Football at The Regent

Bootleg Theater is showing Fritz Lang’s 1929 film Woman In The Moon

Xeno & Oaklander, SRSQ, Chasms, and Fawns of Love are performing for Part Time Punks 14 Year Anniversary Show at the Echoplex

Apr 112019
 

Prettiest Eyes- Don’t Call

Things to do in Los Angeles this weekend (4/11-4/14/19)-

Thursday

Skirball is hosting the panel discussion Black is Beautiful: Then and Now in conjunction with the opening of Black is Beautiful: The Photography of Kwame Brathwaite. The panel includes the artist’s son and director of the Kwame Brathwaite Archive, Kwame S. Brathwaite, along with fashion designer Mimi Plange, photographer Tyler Mitchell, and costume designer Ruth Carter. ($20)

Goon are playing with Dead Soft at the Moroccan Lounge

MOCA Grand Avenue is hosting BlackStar Film Festival. The screening to be followed by a discussion with the founder Maori Karmael Holmes (free)

Damon & Naomi are playing at Zebulon with Exploding Flowers

Wicca Phase Springs Eternal is playing at the Echoplex with Horse Head and MIRSY

 

Friday

ICA LA is hosting Art Buzz, a happy hour tour of Patty Chang: The Wandering Lake with curator Jamillah James and Director of Learning and Engagement Asuka Hisa, with refreshments to follow

Prettiest Eyes are playing at El Cid with Meatbodies, Chud, and The Chonks

Drugdealer is performing at the Teragram Ballroom

 

Friday through Sunday

Printed Matter’s LA Art Book Fair 2019 is happening at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA. The free event includes conversations, workshops, performances and other programs and is a great place to find and purchase art books.

 

Saturday

Bergamot Station is having a Spring Open House, a free event with opening receptions, artist talks, and more

Curator David J. Getsy will be giving a public lecture at West Hollywood City Council Chambers titled Rubbish and Dreams: The Genderqueer Performance Art of Stephen Varble in 1970s New York, from 2-4:30pm. The talk is in conjunction with the exhibit he curated for ONE GalleryThe Gutter Art of Stephen Varble: Genderqueer Performance in the 1970s, Photographs by Greg Day. A Q&A with Getsy will follow the lecture.

Independent music stores will celebrate Record Store Day with exclusive releases and events. Amoeba Records in Hollywood will have gift bags, live silk screening, and guest DJ sets

Emily Reo is having a record release party at Junior High with performances by Foxes in Fiction and Lush Agave

Old school hip hop legends Eric B. & Rakim are performing at The Novo

 

Saturday and Sunday

The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books returns to the USC Campus with tons of free and ticketed events and readings, plus music, chef demos, booksellers, and more.

 

Sunday

Zebulon continues their month of free screenings of Jim Jarmusch films with Down By Law

Summer Cannibals are playing The Redwood Bar & Girl

Cruz de Navajas are playing with Pelada, All Your Sisters, Some Ember and Temple of Angeles at the Echoplex