Mark Kostabi (born November 27, 1960) is an American artist and
1 Early life
7 External links
Mark Kostabi was born in
Los Angeles on November 27, 1960, to Estonian
immigrants Kaljo and Rita Kostabi. He was raised in Whittier,
California and studied drawing and painting at
University, Fullerton. In 1982 he moved to New York and by 1984 he
became a prominent figure of the East Village art scene, winning
the "Proliferation Prize" from the
East Village Eye for being in more
art exhibitions than any other New York artist.
Kostabi is most known for his paintings of faceless figures which
often comment on contemporary political, social and psychological
issues, and which have visual stylistic roots in the work of Giorgio
de Chirico and Fernand Léger. Beyond traditional art world exposure,
Kostabi has designed album covers for
Guns 'N' Roses
Guns 'N' Roses (Use Your
The Ramones (¡Adios Amigos!), Seether (Holding Onto
Strings Better Left to Fray),
Jimmy Scott (Holding Back The Years),
Glint (Sound in Silence), RK: Roman Klun (Kingsway), Psychotica
(Espina) and numerous products including a
Swatch watch, Alessi
vases, Rosenthal espresso cups, Ritzenhoff milk glasses, and a Giro
d'Italia pink jersey.
Kostabi is also known for his many collaborations with other artists
including Enzo Cucchi, Arman, Howard Finster, Tadanori Yokoo, Enrico
Baj and Paul Kostabi.
Retrospective exhibitions of Kostabi's paintings have been held at the
Mitsukoshi Museum in Tokyo (1992) and the
Art Museum of Estonia
Art Museum of Estonia in
Tallinn (1998). Kostabi's work is in the permanent collections of the
Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim
Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, the National Gallery in Washington D.C.,
the Museum of Contemporary Art,
Los Angeles the Corcoran Gallery of
Yale University Art Gallery
Yale University Art Gallery the National Gallery of Modern
Art in Rome and the
Groninger Museum in the Netherlands.
His work was published on the cover of the book East Village '85
published by Pelham Press and his paintings were included prominently
in numerous East Village shows in museums and galleries
internationally. Matteo Editore published a book on Kostabi titled
Mark Kostabi and the East Village scene 1983–1987 written by Baird
Jones. During the mid-1980s he developed a media persona by
publishing self-interviews which commented on the commodification of
contemporary art, which led to theories on Kostabi's cultural
relevance in various sociology books including "Life: The Movie: How
Entertainment Conquered Reality" by
Neal Gabler and "Culture or
Trash?: A Provocative View of Contemporary Painting, Sculpture, and
Other Costly Commodities" by James Gardner.
In 1986 Kostabi designed the Bloomingdales shopping bag. By 1987 his
works were widely exhibited in New York galleries and throughout the
United States, in Japan, Germany and Australia.
In 1988, inspiring extensive international press coverage, he founded
Kostabi World, his large New York studio known for openly employing
numerous painting assistants and idea people.
Kostabi has performed music as a soloist and with other musicians
including Ornette Coleman, Jerry Marotta, Tony Levin, Tony Esposito,
Stefano di Battista, Greesi Desiree Langovits, Gene Pritsker, Mark
Egan, Lukas Ligeti, Olen Cesari, Aaron Comess, Richard Hammond, Amedeo
Ariano, Marco Siniscalco, Stefano Nunzi, Puccio Panettieri, Pat
Daugherty, Roman Klun and Paul Kostabi. His compositions have also
been performed independently by Rein Rannap, Kristjan Järvi, Maano
Männi, Delilah Gutman,
Kai Schumacher and the Estonian National
His debut album, I Did It Steinway was released on Artists Only
Records in October 1998. Produced by Dale Ashley & Charles
Coleman, the album features original compositions by Kostabi, and was
Merkin Concert Hall
Merkin Concert Hall in New York City.
Kostabi's other releases include: Songs For Sumera, New Alliance, The
Spectre Of Modernism, Kostabeat, Grace Notes "Closer To First" and "In
Between and Beyond."
Kostabi has been profiled on 60 Minutes, Eye to Eye with Connie Chung,
A Current Affair, Nightwatch (with Charlie Rose), The Oprah Winfrey
Show, Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, Nonsolomoda, West 57th,
Between the Keys, CNN, MTV and numerous television programs throughout
Europe and Japan. In print he has been featured in The New York Times,
People, Vogue, Architectural Digest, The Face, Playboy, Forbes, New
York Magazine, The Sunday Telegraph, Domus, Corriera Della Sera,
Panorama, Artforum, Art in America, ARTnews, Flash Art, Arte, Arte In
and Tema Celeste.
In 1989, Kostabi's paintings were featured prominently in an episode
Miami Vice "The Lost Madonna", as the subject of the plot.
In 1991, Kostabi was mentioned in the controversial and widely
discussed novel, American Psycho, by Bret Easton Ellis. In the 2016
Broadway musical version of American Psycho, Kostabi is mentioned
twice, in the context of a commentary of America's brand obsession.
From the year 2000 to 2010 Kostabi wrote an advice column for artists,
"Ask Mark Kostabi" for Artnet Magazine.
Kostabi is the subject of numerous documentary films, most notably
Bottom Line: The Kostabi Phenomenon directed by Peter Bach, Con
Artist directed by Michael Sladek, and Jedermann directed by Paul
Tschinkel. Kostabi has a prominent role in the
Emmy award winning
documentary The Art of Failure: Chuck Connelly Not for Sale directed
by Jeff Stimmel. "Full Circle: The Kostabi Story", directed by Sabrina
Digregorio. Kostabi is one of the main protagonists in the award
winning docucomedy, "My Italy" directed by Bruno Colella. The plot of
"My Italy" concerns the adventures of 4 non-Italian artists who chose
to live in Italy: Kostabi, H.H. Lim, Krzysztof Bednarski and Thorsten
Kirchhoff. The famous art critic
Achille Bonito Oliva
Achille Bonito Oliva has a prominent
role as narrator/commentator in the film.
Kostabi produces a cable TV show, The Kostabi Show, where noted art
critics and celebrities compete to title his paintings for cash
awards. The Kostabi Show was previously known as both Name That
Painting and Title This. Contestants on The Kostabi Show have
included: Michel Gondry, Ornette Coleman, Suzanne Vega, Bela Fleck,
Amos Poe, Glenn O'Brien, Glen Matlock, Tommy Ramone, Nicole Eisenman,
Lee Klein, Carlo McCormick, Walter Robinson, Gary Indiana, Victor
Bockris, Dennis Oppenheim, Sylvia Miles, Taylor Mead, Robin Cembalest,
Jaclyn Santos, Randy Jones, Charles Coleman, Molly Barnes and David
Mark Kostabi (self published), "Kostabi", 1980.
Kostabi, Mark (1985). Upheaval. Pelham Press. , First edition
Kostabi, Mark (1986). Office suite. New York: Strother/Elwood Arts.
ISBN 9780940515000. , First edition 2,000 copies.
Kostabi, Mark (1988). Sadness because the video rental store was
closed & other stories. New York: Abbeville Press.
Mark Kostabi (1990). Kalev Mark Kostabi: the early
years. New York: Vanity Press. ISBN 9780962836602.
Kostabi, Mark (1992). Kostabi: one hundred +. Los Angeles, Calif.,
USA: Martin Lawrence Limited Editions. ISBN 9780929460116.
Kostabi, Mark (1996). Conversations with Kostabi (1st ed.). Boston:
Journey Editions. ISBN 188520325X.
Sam Hunter (1998). Kostabi, the poetry of silence.
Philadelphia, Pa.: Jenkintown Press. ISBN 9780929460123.
Others include: The Rhythm of Inspiration,
Mark Kostabi and the East
Village Scene 1983–1987 and
Mark Kostabi in the 21st Century.
^ Kossar, Kristel (2004-08-14). "Kolmemõõtmeline Kalev Mark Kostabi"
(in Estonian). Postimees. Archived from the original on 13 February
2013. Retrieved 27 May 2010.
^ a b The International Who's Who: 2004. Europa Publications. 2003.
p. 920. ISBN 978-1-85743-217-6. Retrieved 9 May 2013.
^ Stonard, John-Paul (2011). "Kostabi, Mark". In Joan M. Marter (ed.).
The Grove Encyclopedia of American Art. Oxford University Press.
pp. 69–70. ISBN 9780195335798. CS1 maint: Uses
editors parameter (link)
^ Pike, Laurie (April 1989). "Kostabi: Million-Dollar Bore". SPIN. 5
(1). pp. 82–83. ISSN 0886-3032.
^ Innsbruck Records (2011-03-08). "Mark Kostabi's Art Graces Cover of
Seether Album". Retrieved 2013-05-10.
^ Jones, Baird (2002).
Mark Kostabi and the East Village scene,
1983-1987. Dosson di Casier [Treviso]: Matteo Editore.
^ Interview with
Mark Kostabi (2014),
^ Weschler, Pat; Roger D. Friedman (1995-05-01). "Intelligencer". New
York Magazine. 28 (18). p. 10. ISSN 0028-7369.
Mark Kostabi on IMDb
^ Holden, Stephen (12 November 2010). "MOVIE REVIEW: 'CON ARTIST'; The
(Un)Making of an Art World Satirist". The New York Times.
Mark Kostabi on IMDb
^ Lange, Candy (2007). Public Relations for the Arts: What are the
benefits?. München: GRIN Verlag GmbH. ISBN 9783638767293.
Life: The Movie: How Entertainment Conquered Reality, Publisher
Penguin Random House
Culture or Trash?: A Provocative View of Contemporary Painting,
Sculpture, and Other Costly Commodities, Publisher: Birch Lane Pr
The Kostabi Show
Mark Kostabi page
Kostabi's Commode Confessional
Interview with Michael Sladek, director of the Kostabi documentary:
Full Circle: The Kostabi Story on Vimeo, Trailer for documentary film,
directed by Sabrina Digregorio]
Mark Kostabi: Andy Warhol had nothing on this guy
ISNI: 0000 0000 8168 3499
BNF: cb13602823z (data)