Much of Holman's work in the 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s took the form of highly surreal, colorful and energetic PERFORMANCE ART shows staged in clubs and art venues across the US, Japan and the UK.

Holman formed his first performance art ensemble, TORTURE CHORUS in NYC in 1985, and became an active part of the now-legendary Lower East Side art scene, staging live shows in seminal venues such as 8BC, The Kitchen, Danceteria and Franklin Furnace.

In 1987 he moved to Los Angeles where he co-founded THEATRE CARNIVALE, a neo-vaudevillian performance troupe/venue which showcased cutting-edge performance artists such as Johanna Went, John Fleck and the Kipper Kids alongside exotic entertainment such as sword-swallowing strippers and professional magicians. Holman and Theatre Carnivale garnered rave press reviews (Performance Art at it's finest, with the guts to go beyound the boundaries" - LA WEEKLY), ruffled the feathers of the cultural elite ("Avant Garbage reeking with cheap jokes, sex and violence!" - LA Reader) and succeeded in defining a new genre of 1980s west coast performance art.

By the early 1990s Theatre Carnivale had evolved into a vehicle for Holman's own performance work: a wild blend of visual comedy and eco-science involving ensemble casts, live musicians and surreal costumes and props. Throughout the 90s he received grants and staged productions in major venues across the US, the UK and Japan (including NYC's Kitchen, the UK's Channel 4 TV and Tokyo's International Theater Festival), also collaborating extensively with artists Johanna Went, Clam Lynch, Brian Routh and Tom Murrin in a side project entitled Bigg Mess.


Ann Magneson Mike Kelley Tribute @ MOCA
May 2014. "Art is Not a Business" MOCA, Los Angeles

'Art is Not a Business' one hour solo show
@Ann Magnuson's Mike Kelley tribute Bacchanal.
MOCA, Los Angeles. 2014
Photo: Josephine Huang

THEATRE CARNIVALE troupe at the OLIO THEATRE, Los Angeles 1988
(l-r Adam Tankell, Johanna Went, Stephen Holman, Toni Oswald, Aaron Osbourne)

THEATRE CARNIVALE: 'The Grandeur of Falsehood, The Vengeance of Squid'. Los Angeles. 1988.
Photo: Kevin O'Sullivan

THEATRE CARNIVALE: 'Lysteria Hysteria' Channel Four TV, England, 1989
(Stephen Holman, Toni Oswald, presenter Tony Wilson).
Photo: Roger Hopgood

THEATRE CARNIVALE: 'Self-Obliteration Pt 1' Force Nordstrom Gallery, San Francisco, 1990.
(l-r Spencer Savage, Beth Love, Leslie Michel, Stephen Holman, David West, L7).
Photo: Marcus Hu

THEATRE CARNIVALE: 'Self-Obliteration Pt 2' New Langton Arts, San Francisco, 1990.
(l-r Nina Moore, Kim Docter, Kris Force, ?, David West, Stephen Holman, Leslie Michel).

'THE PIGEON AND THE ONION PIE' Solo show, EZTV, Los Angeles. 1990.
Photo: Kevin O'Sullivan

POO POO BOMB 'Hippy Head' Spaceland, Los Angeles. 1996.
Photo: Don Lewis.

Rabbit Tarot Magician 2014
'TOURISM WITHOUT TEARS' Solo show. Track 16 Gallery, Santa Monica. 2006
(w. Johanna Went) Photo: Jon Tucker

Mouse Juggler 2014
'TOURISM WITHOUT TEARS' Solo show. Track 16 Gallery, Santa Monica. 2006
Photo: Jon Tucker

'GOODBYE NORMAL GENES' Solo show. El Cid, Los Angeles. 2007
Photo: Josephine Huang