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Mark Kostabi

 (born 1960)
Mark Kostabi was active/lived in California, New York / Italy.  Mark Kostabi is known for post modernist surreal paintings, album covers, musician.

Mark Kostabi

    koe-STAH-bee  speaker-click to hear pronunciation  click to hear

Biography from the Archives of askART

Biography photo for Mark Kostabi
Born in California in 1960, Mark Kostabi has lived, worked and made waves in New York since 1982. His numerous exhibitions, outspoken artistic and business philosophy, along with his arresting painting style, have led to wide - spread critical attention and placed him in the limelight of public interest. His works now hang in major private and public collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim and the Museum of Modern Art.

Of all the ways to describe Kostabi, the one that most people will agree with is "controversial" it is also the way the artist himself likes to be known. "All publicity is good," says Kostabi, "especially bad publicity. Bad publicity creates controversy, and nothing attracts people's attention like controversy." Why the controversy? Why has Kostabi made so many friends ... and so many enemies? He's blazing a new trail in the art world. Like Warhol before him, Kostabi is turning the art world on its end, challenging the traditional view of the artist.

In addition to his many collectors, Kostabi also has many supporters, including art museum curators and art dealers. They argue that Kostabi is making a 'valid statement' about the contemporary art scene.

People are talking about Mark Kostabi: Interviews and articles were featured in Vogue, the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Advertising Age, The Village Voice, Columbia Art Review, and People magazine. "Within a very short time, through his work and actions, Mark Kostabi has made the art world take notice. Clever, streetwise, armchair philosopher, he has received a good deal of attention from dealers, the press, collectors and his contemporaries, not to mention the over 90 exhibitions held in his young, ambitious career."

Biography from
Biography photo for Mark Kostabi
Mark Kostabi, American (1960 - )

Artist and Composer Mark Kostabi was born in Los Angeles in 1960 to Estonian immigrants. He was raised in Whittier, California and studied drawing and painting at California State University, Fullerton. In 1982 he moved to New York and by 1984 he became a leading figure of the East Village art scene. During that time he also developed a provocative media persona by publishing self-interviews which commented on the commodification of contemporary art.

By 1987 his works were widely exhibited in New York galleries and prominently 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. In 1996 be began dividing his time between New York and Rome and consequently his work's already strong presence in the Italian art scene was vigorously enhanced.

Kostabi produces a weekly cable TV show, Title This, where noted art critics and celebrities compete to title his paintings for cash awards.

He writes an advice column for artists, Ask Mark Kostabi, for

Kostabi has designed album covers for Guns 'N' Roses (Use Your Illusion) and The Ramones (Adios Amigos), Jimmey Scott (Holding Back The Years) and numerous products including a Swatch watch, limited-edition vases, espresso cups, computer accessories 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.

Kostabi has performed music as a soloist and with other musicians including Ornette Coleman, Jerry Marotta, Tony Levin, Puccio Panettieri and Paul Kostabi. His compostions have also been performed independently by Rein Rannap, Kristjan Järvi, Maano Männi, Delilah Gutman and the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra. His CDs include I Did It Steinway, Songs For Sumera and New Alliance.

Retrospective exhibitions of Kostabi's paintings have been held at the Mitsukoshi Museum in Tokyo (1992) and the 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 Corcoran Gallery of Art, the National Gallery of Modern Art in Rome and the Groninger Museum in Holland.

His permanent public works include a mural in Palazzo dei Priori in Arezzo, Italy, a large bronze sculpture in the central square of San Benedetto del Tronto, Italy, and a bronze portrait of Pope John Paul II in Velletri, Italy.

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, 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.

The many books published about Kostabi include Sadness Because the Video Rental Store Was Closed, Kostabi: The Early Years, Conversations with Kostabi, The Rhythm of Inspiration, Mark Kostabi and the East Village Scene 1983-1987 and Mark Kostabi in the 21st Century.

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About  Mark Kostabi

Born:  1960 - Los Angeles, California
Known for:  post modernist surreal paintings, album covers, musician