A facsimile edition of Douglas Huebler’s classic artist book, co-published by Printed Matter and Primary Information.
The publication collects 1,800 secrets submitted anonymously by visitors to Huebler’s Variable Piece 4 at the Jewish Museum’s 1970 Software exhibition. In the piece, the artist asked audience members for “an authentic secret never before revealed” – each entry was then photocopied and given to another participant as part of an ongoing exchange. Several years later, the artist compiled the secrets into a book that was published by Printed Matter in 1978.
As with his other Variable Pieces, Variable Piece 4 showcases the artist’s open-ended approach to art making, which sought to undermine object-oriented practices in favour of a text-driven conceptualism that relied on ‘variables’ outside of the artist’s control, particularly those relating to an outside public. The result is a fleeting glimpse into the cultural, political, and social preoccupations and anxieties of the era.
Published by Printed Matter Inc./Primary Information
Text by Douglas Humbler