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Mark Kostabi

Mark Kostabi Biography

born Los Angeles, CA (USA) 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, Name That Painting, where noted art critics compete to title his paintings for cash awards. He writes an advice column for artists, Ask Mark Kostabi, for Artnet.com. Kostabi has designed album covers for Guns "N" Roses (Use Your Illusion) and The Ramones (Adios Amigos) 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 and Enrico Baj. Kostabi's music has been performed internationally by orchestras and soloists including Rein Rannap, Kristjan Jarvi, Maano Manni, Delilah Gutman, the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, and Kostabi himself. His CDs are: 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 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 and a large bronze sculpture in the central square of San Benedetto del Tronto, 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, The Face, Playboy, Forbes, New York Magazine, 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.

Select Timeline

Select Exhibitions

  • 1985 - Nada Gallery, New York
  • 1985 - Semaphore, New York
  • 1985 - Eastman-Wahmendorf, New York
  • 1985 - Semaphore and Semaphore East, New York
  • 1985 - Ray Hughes Gallery, Brisbane, Australia
  • 1985 - Australian Center for Contemporary Art, Melbourne, Australia
  • 1985 - Paul Cava Gallery, Philadelphia
  • 1985 - Art Awareness, Lexington, New York
  • 1986 - Seed Hall, Tokyo,
  • 1986 - Folker Skulima Gallery, Berlin
  • 1986 - Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York
  • 1987 - Jan Turner Gallery, Los Angeles
  • 1987 - Freedman Gallery, Albright College, Reading, Pennsylvania
  • 1987 - Wiesner Gallery, New York
  • 1987 - Peter Miller Gallery, Chicago
  • 1988 - Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York
  • 1988 - Phillip Samuels Fine Arts, St Louis, Missouri
  • 1988 - The Morgan Gallery, Boston
  • 1988 - Access Gallery, New York
  • 1988 - Hanson Gallery, New York
  • 1989 - Tamara Bane, Los Angeles
  • 1989 - Fernando Alcolea Galeria d'Art, Barcelona
  • 1989 - Hanson Galleries, Beverly Hills and San Francisco
  • 1989 - Fly by Night Gallery, New York
  • 1989 - Hokin Gallery, Miami
  • 1989 - Alan Brown Gallery, Hartsdale, New York
  • 1990 - Govinda Gallery, Washington D.C.
  • 1990 - First Gallery, Moscow
  • 1990 - Mijor Gallery, Kyoto, Japan
  • 1990 - Hanson Galleries, New Orleans and San Francisco
  • 1990 - Ronald Feldman Gallery, New York
  • 1990 - Ergane Gallery, New York
  • 1990 - Gross McCleaf Gallery, Philadelphia
  • 1990 - Gallery Sho, Tokyo
  • 1990 - Seibu, Tokyo
  • 1990 - Studio d'Arte Raffaelli, Trento, Italy
  • 1990 - California State University, Fullerton
  • 1991 - Art Collection House, Tokyo
  • 1991 - Galleria Dello Scudo, Verona, Italy
  • 1991 - Art Collection House, Osaka, Japan
  • 1991 - Frank Bustamante Gallery, New York
  • 1991 - Galerie Kaess-Weiss, Stuttgart, Germany
  • 1991 - Hama Gallery, Tokyo
  • 1991 - Access Gallery, New York
  • 1991 - Galerie 1900-2000: Marcel Fleiss, Paris
  • 1991 - Elisabetta Frigieri Arte Contemporanea, Carpi, Italy
  • 1991 - Paolo Majorana, Brescia, Italy
  • 1991 - Galleria In Arco, Turin, Italy
  • 1992 - Galleri Max, Stockholm
  • 1992 - Martin Lawrence Modern, New York
  • 1992 - Sinimandria Gallery, Tartu, Estonia
  • 1992 - Mitsukoshi Museum, Tokyo
  • 1992 - Galleria Les Chances de l'Art, Bolzano, Italy
  • 1992 - Studio Spaggiari, Milan
  • 1992 - Galleria D'Arte Rizziero, Teramo, Italy
  • 1992 - Ginza Yamato Gallery, Tokyo
  • 1992 - Studio Cristofori, Bologna, Italy
  • 1992 - Vaal Galerii, Tallinn, Estonia
  • 1992 - Seibu, Tokyo
  • 1992 - Gio Marconi and Fondazione Mudima (collaborations with Enrico Baj), Milan
  • 1992 - P.M.M.K. Museum Voor Moderne Kunst (collaborations with Enrico Baj), Ostende, Belgium
  • 1992 - The Columbia Museum of Art (collaborations with Howard Finster), South Carolina
  • 1993 - Galerie Kaess-Weiss, Stuttgart, Germany
  • 1993 - Santo Ficara Arte, Florence, Italy
  • 1993 - Martin Lawrence Galerry, Washington D.C. and Santa Clara, California
  • 1993 - Hanson Galleries, New Orleans and La Jolla, California
  • 1993 - Centro D'Arte Moderna "Agatirio," Capo d'Orlando, Italy
  • 1993 - Azabu Museum (Collaborations with Tadanori Yokoo), Tokyo
  • 1993 - Kobe-Hankyu (Collaborations with Tadanori Yokoo), Kobe, Japan
  • 1993 - Multimedia Arte Contemporanea (collaborations with Enrico Baj), Brescia, Italy
  • 1993 - Cradle Salon/Aoyama Commons (collaborations with Linda Mason and Seiichi Tanaka), Tokyo
  • 1994 - Nicolae Gallery, Colombus, Ohio
  • 1994 - Studio Gastadelli, Milan
  • 1994 - Hanson Galleries, New Orleans
  • 1994 - Arlene Bujese Gallery, East Hampton, New York
  • 1994 - Martin Lawrence Modern, New York
  • 1994 - Giavanni Di Summa Galleria d' Arte, Rome
  • 1994 - Studio Spaggiari, Milan
  • 1994 - Sony Building, Osaka, Japan
  • 1995 - Dante Vecchiato Galleria d'Arte, Padova, Italy
  • 1995 - Guidi Galleria d'Arte, Genova, Italy
  • 1995 - Galleria Blu Art, Alba Adriatica, Italy
  • 1995 - Martin Lawrence Modern, New York
  • 1995 - Galerie Sho, Tokyo
  • 1995 - Galleria d'Arte Moderna "Il Castello," Milan
  • 1996 - Centro Arte, Milan
  • 1996 - Elisabetta Frigieri Arte Contemporanea, Sassoulo, Italy
  • 1996 - Neuffer Am Park, Pirmasens, Germany
  • 1996 - Nicolae Galerie Colombus, Ohio
  • 1996 - Martin Lawrence Galleries, Chicago and Oakbrook, Illinois and King of Prussia, Pennsylvania
  • 1997 - Oprandi Arte Contemporanea, Boltiere, Italy
  • 1997 - Scola dei Tiraoro e Battioro, Venice, Italy
  • 1997 - Martin Lawrence Galleries, Los Angeles, Newport Beach, San Francisco and New York
  • 1997 - Castello Doria, Porto Venere, Italy
  • 1997 - Galleria Nuova Gissi, Turin, Italy
  • 1997 - Galleria d'Arte Moderna "Il Castello", Milan
  • 1998 - L'Immagine Galleria d'Arte Contemporanea, Arezzo, Italy
  • 1998 - Ferrara Arte, Ferrara, Italy
  • 1998 - Blu Art Arte Moderna, Alba Adriatica, Italy
  • 1998 - Galleria Arte Rotaross, Novara, Italy
  • 1998 - Martin Lawrence Galleries, Sherman Oaks and San Francisco, California
  • 1998 - Galerie Le Jardin des Arts, Jingumae and Aoyama, Tokyo
  • 1998 - Mitsukoshi, Shinjuku, Tokyo
  • 1998 - Hankyu, Osaka, Japan
  • 1998 - Galleria Soave, Alessandria, Italy
  • 1998 - Galleria Botero, Pescara, Italy
  • 1998 - Art Museum of Estonia, Tallinn, Estonia
  • 1999 - Galleria Pio Monti, Rome, Italy
  • 1999 - Rocca Malatestiana, Fano, Italy
  • 1999 - Le Bain Art Gallery, Rome, Italy
  • 1999 - Martin Lawrence Galleries, New York and Oakbrook, Illinois
  • 1999 - Palazzina Azzurra, San Benedetto del Tronto, Italy
  • 1999 - Boxart Galleria d'Arte, San Bonifacio, Italy
  • 1999 - Studio G, Milan, Italy
  • 2000 - ArteCapital, Brescia, Italy
  • 2000 - Trevi Flash Art Museum of International Contemporary Art, Trevi, Italy
  • 2000 - Guastalla Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Forte dei Marmi, Italy
  • 2000 - Temple Gallery, Temple University, Rome, Italy
  • 2000 - Galleria L'Ariete, Bologna, Italy
  • 2000 - Guastalla Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Livorno, Italy
  • 2000 - Francesco Cancelliere Artecontemporanea, Messina, Italy
  • 2000 - Roger Smith Gallery, New York
  • 2001 - Fidesarte, Mestre-Venezia, Italy
  • 2001 - Galleria d'Arte L'Incontro, Chiari, Italy
  • 2001 - Floriana Tondinelli Art Gallery, Rome
  • 2001 - Per Mari e Monti, Treia (Macerata), Italy
  • 2001 - Banca di Teramo, Teramo, Italy
  • 2001 - Marchese Arte Contemporanea, Prato, Italy
  • 2002 - Stefan Stux Gallery, New York
  • 2002 - Galleria del Tasso, Bergamo, Italy
  • 2002 - Galleria Nuova Gissi, Turin, Italy
  • 2002 - Galleria Faustini, Forte dei Marmi, Italy
  • 2002 - Galleria Rosini & C., Rimini, Italy
  • 2003 - Andrea Arte Contemporanea, Vicenza, Italy
  • 2003 - Galleria Civica di Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy
  • 2003 - Chiesina dell' Ospedale, Meldola (FC), Italy
  • 2003 - adarte (Expoarte), Montichiari, Italy
  • 2003 - Pio Monti, Rome
  • 2003 - Scoletta dei Battioro, Venice
  • 2003 - Arte Contemporanea e Dintorni, Como, Italy
  • 2004 - Magazzini del Sale, Cervia, Italy
  • 2004 - Embassy of Estonia, Washington, D.C.
  • 2004 - Galleria Francocancelliere, Messina, Italy
  • 2004 - Centro d'Arte Mercurio, Palermo
  • 2004 - Excalibur Artecontemporanea,Solcio di Lesa (No), Italy
  • 2004 - Castello Visconteo di Vogogna (Vb), Italy
  • 2004 - Adam Baumgold Gallery, New York
  • 2005 - Ex Museo Civica, Spoleto, Italy
  • 2005 - Gallerie Rosini, Riccione, Italy
  • 2005 - Pio Monti, Rome
  • 2006 - Modenarte, Modena, Italy
  • 2006 - Galleria del Palazzo, Palazzo Coveri, Florence, Italy
  • 2006 - Adam Baumgold Gallery, New York
  • 2006 - Chiostro del Bramante, Rome
  • 2006 - Antico Castello sul Mare, Rapallo, Italy
  • 2006 - Galleria Imperatori, Porto San Giorgio, Italy
  • 2006 - George Billis Gallery, Los Angeles

Select Artwork

  • The grasp of history, 2006
  • The day will come, 2006
  • Everything You Learn You Burn, 2005
  • Precarious balance, 2006
  • There's No Place Like Home, 2005
  • The Fool Table, 2004
  • Fragment Recognition, 1982

Quotes

  • "I'm an artist because that's what I was best at as a kid. It was fun. I got lot's of encouragement from my parents, friends and teachers. I continue to be an artist for similar reasons and for the freedom that an art career can bring. I don't need an alarm clock and I am my own boss."
  • "I'm inspired by seeing great art. Observing human behaviour. Things don't get tough in the studio. Sometimes things get tough outside the studio and going in the studio is a relief, a sanctuary, therapy."
  • "I really can't imagine a better place than Italy, but you never know. In my art career I hope to have had many major museum shows by then, with many beautiful art books well distributed throughout the world. I'd like the name Kostabi to carry at least the same weight as Leonardo*, Michelangelo, Caravaggio and Picasso."
  • "I moved to New York in January 1982 when I was 21 years old. Had I known the importance of New York earlier, I would have gone there sooner. One secret to my success is that I am faithful to my dreams and don't cheat on my dreams by taking drugs or blaming others when things don't go right. There's too much negativity in the world. Staying positive is a better investment."

Publications

  • Mark Kostabi and the East Village Scene 1983-1987 - by Baird Jones, Matteo Editore (June 15, 2003)
  • Kalev Mark Kostabi: The Early Years - by Mark Kostabi , Kostabi World (June 1990)
  • Mark Kostabi: The Rhythm of Inspiration - by Mark Kostabi, BIBLOS (2001)
  • Mark Kostabi 1986 The Exhibition of Mark Kostabi - by Seed Hall, Mark Kostabi, Seed Hall (1986)
  • Kostabi - by Mark Kostabi, Mark Kostabi (1980)
  • Kostabi: Art Wave New York - by Mark Kostabi, MITSUKOSHI MUSEUM OF ART (1992)

Quick Facts

  • Kostabi is one of the most famous and controversial artists to arise from the creative ferment of New York City's downtown scene where he operates his vast art studio, Kostabi World.
  • Well known in the arts and popular press for his art and marketing genius, he is less known as the prolific concert pianist and composer.
  • Mark Kostabi's cult status TV show,
  • "Name That Painting" a game show where art critics and celebrities compete to title Kostabi paintings for cash awards.
  • Kostabi has designed album covers for Guns "N" Roses (Use Your Illusion) and The Ramones (Adios Amigos) and numerous products including a Swatch watch, limited-edition vases, espresso cups, computer accessories and a Giro d'Italia pink jersey.
  • His permanent public works include a mural in Palazzo dei Priori in Arezzo, Italy and a large bronze sculpture in the central square of San Benedetto del Tronto, 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, The Face, Playboy, Forbes, New York Magazine, Domus, Corriera Della Sera, Panorama, Artforum, Art in America, ARTnews, Flash Art, Arte, Arte In and Tema Celeste

Keywords

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