Mark Kostabi, American (1960 - )

Artist and Composer Mark Kostabi was born in Los Angeles in 1960 to Estonian immigrants. Raised in Whittier, California, he studied drawing and painting at California State University, Fullerton. Kostabi moved to New York in 1982, and by 1984, emerged as a leading figure in the East Village art scene where he cultivated a provocative media persona by publishing self-interviews reflecting on the commodification of contemporary art. By 1987, his work was widely exhibited in New York galleries as well as prominently throughout the United States, Japan, Germany and Australia. He inspired extensive international press coverage in 1988 when he founded Kostabi World, his Manhattan art studio, which employs numerous painting assistants and idea people. Beginning in the early 1990s Kostabi's work has been widely exhibited throughout Italy. Kostabi established a second home in Rome in 1996. Dividing his time between Rome and New York enabled him to dramatically enhance his presence in the Italian art scene.
Kostabi produces a weekly cable TV show, The Kostabi Show, where noted art critics and celebrities compete to title his paintings for cash awards.

From 2000 to 2010 he wrote 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), Jimmy Scott (Holding Back The Years), Seether (Holding Onto strings Better Left to Fray) and numerous products including a Swatch watch, a Bloomingdales bag, Alessi vases, Rosenthal espresso cups, 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 performs concerts internationally both as a soloist and with other musicians including Ornette Coleman, Jerry Marotta, Tony Levin, Tony Esposito, and Paul Kostabi. His compostions have also been performed independently by Rein Rannap, Kristjan Jarvi, Maano Manni, Delilah Gutman and the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra. His CDs include I Did It Steinway, Songs For Sumera and New Alliance.

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 for Atena Films, has premiered at Anthology Films Archives in New York and and at Domus Talenti in Rome. "My Italy" directed by Bruno Colella, currently in production in Italy, is a docu-comedy starring Kostabi, H.H. Lim, Krzysztof Bednarski and Thorsten Kirchhoff: 4 non-Italian artists who chose to live in Italy. The famous art critic Achille Bonito Oliva has a prominent role as narrator/commentator in the film.

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). The famous Italian art historian and curator, Vittorio Sgarbi, curated a vast exhibition of 150 Kostabi paintings at the Chiostro del Bramante in Rome in 2006. Kostabi's work is in over 50 permanent museum collections, including 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 Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, 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.

Museum Collections

The Museum of Modern Art, New York
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Solomom R. Guggenheim Museum of Art, New York
Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C
The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.
Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York
Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna, Rome
Art Museum of Estonia, Tallinn, Estonia
Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, Memphis, Tennessee
Trevi Flash Art Museum of International Contemporary Art, Trevi, Italy
MUSEION - Museo d'Arte Moderna, Bolzano, Italy
Duke University Museum of Art, Durham, North Carolina
Boise Art Museum, Boise, Idaho
University Museum at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Illinois
Groninger Museum, Groningen, Holland
Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester, Rochester, New York
The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, Florida
Museum of Tirana, Tirana, Albania
The Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick
Neuberger Museum at Suny Purchase, Purchase, New York
Wright Museum of Art, Beloit College, Beloit, Wisconsin
Birmingham Museum of Art, Alabama
University of Alaska Museum of the North, Fairbanks, Alaska
Phoenix Art Museum, Arizona
The Arkansas Arts Center, Little Rock, Arkansas
Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, Colorado
Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut
Miami Art Museum, Florida
Honolulu Academy of Arts, Hawaii
Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, Iowa
Spencer Museum of Art, The University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas
New Orleans Museum of Art, Louisiana
Portland Museum of Art, Maine
Academy Art Museum, Easton, Maryland
The University of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor, Michigan
The Frederick R. Weismn Art Museum, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota 
Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson, Mississippi
Saint Louis Art Museum, Missouri
Yellowstone Art Museum, Billings, Montana
Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, Nebraska
Las Vegas Art Museum, Nevada
Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire 
New Mexico Museum of Art, Museum of New Mexico, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Plains Art Museum, Fargo, North Dakota
Akron Art Museum, Ohio
Oklahoma City Museum of Art, Oklahoma
Portland Art Museum, Oregon
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Pennsylvania
Milwaukee Art Museum, Wisconsin
University of Wyoming Art Museum, Laramie, Wyoming

Select Solo Exhibitions

1981 California State University, Fullerton
Newport Harbor Art Museum, Newport Beach, California

1982 Molly Barnes Gallery, Los Angeles

1983 Limbo Lounge, New York
Simone Gallery, New York

1984 Molly Barnes Gallery, Los Angeles
Limbo Lounge, New York
Hal Bromm Gallery, New York
Semaphore, New York
Lucky Strike Gallery, New York
Hal Bromm Gallery, New York

1985 Nada Gallery, New York
Semaphore, New York
Eastman-Wahmendorf, New York
Semaphore and Semaphore East, New York
Ray Hughes Gallery, Brisbane, Australia
Australian Center for Contemporary Art, Melbourne, Australia
Paul Cava Gallery, Philadelphia
Art Awareness, Lexington, New York

1986 Seed Hall, Tokyo,
Folker Skulima Gallery, Berlin
Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York

1987 Jan Turner Gallery, Los Angeles
Freedman Gallery, Albright College, Reading, Pennsylvania
Wiesner Gallery, New York
Peter Miller Gallery, Chicago

1988 Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York
Phillip Samuels Fine Arts, St Louis, Missouri
The Morgan Gallery, Boston
Access Gallery, New York
Hanson Gallery, New York

1989 Tamara Bane, Los Angeles
Fernando Alcolea Galeria d'Art, Barcelona
Hanson Galleries, Beverly Hills and San Francisco
Fly by Night Gallery, New York
Hokin Gallery, Miami
Alan Brown Gallery, Hartsdale, New York

1990 Govinda Gallery, Washington D.C.
First Gallery, Moscow
Mijor Gallery, Kyoto, Japan
Hanson Galleries, New Orleans and San Francisco
Ronald Feldman Gallery, New York
Ergane Gallery, New York
Gross McCleaf Gallery, Philadelphia
Gallery Sho, Tokyo
Seibu, Tokyo
Studio d'Arte Raffaelli, Trento, Italy
California State University, Fullerton

1991 Art Collection House, Tokyo
Galleria Dello Scudo, Verona, Italy
Art Collection House, Osaka, Japan
Frank Bustamante Gallery, New York
Galerie Kaess-Weiss, Stuttgart, Germany
Hama Gallery, Tokyo
Access Gallery, New York
Galerie 1900-2000: Marcel Fleiss, Paris
Elisabetta Frigieri Arte Contemporanea, Carpi, Italy
Paolo Majorana, Brescia, Italy
Galleria In Arco, Turin, Italy

1992 Galleri Max, Stockholm
Martin Lawrence Modern, New York
Sinimandria Gallery, Tartu, Estonia
Mitsukoshi Museum, Tokyo
Galleria Les Chances de l'Art, Bolzano, Italy
Studio Spaggiari, Milan
Galleria D'Arte Rizziero, Teramo, Italy
Ginza Yamato Gallery, Tokyo
Studio Cristofori, Bologna, Italy
Vaal Galerii, Tallinn, Estonia
Seibu, Tokyo
Gio Marconi and Fondazione Mudima (collaborations with Enrico Baj), Milan
P.M.M.K. Museum Voor Moderne Kunst (collaborations with Enrico Baj), Ostende, Belgium
The Columbia Museum of Art (collaborations with Howard Finster), South Carolina

1993 Galerie Kaess-Weiss, Stuttgart, Germany
Santo Ficara Arte, Florence, Italy
Martin Lawrence Galerry, Washington D.C. and Santa Clara, California
Hanson Galleries, New Orleans and La Jolla, California
Centro D'Arte Moderna "Agatirio," Capo d'Orlando, Italy
Azabu Museum (Collaborations with Tadanori Yokoo), Tokyo
Kobe-Hankyu (Collaborations with Tadanori Yokoo), Kobe, Japan
Multimedia Arte Contemporanea (collaborations with Enrico Baj), Brescia, Italy
Cradle Salon/Aoyama Commons (collaborations with Linda Mason and Seiichi Tanaka), Tokyo

1994 Nicolae Gallery, Colombus, Ohio
Studio Gastadelli, Milan
Hanson Galleries, New Orleans
Arlene Bujese Gallery, East Hampton, New York
Martin Lawrence Modern, New York
Giavanni Di Summa Galleria d' Arte, Rome
Studio Spaggiari, Milan
Sony Building, Osaka, Japan

1995 Dante Vecchiato Galleria d'Arte, Padova, Italy
Guidi Galleria d'Arte, Genova, Italy
Galleria Blu Art, Alba Adriatica, Italy
Martin Lawrence Modern, New York
Galerie Sho, Tokyo
Galleria d'Arte Moderna "Il Castello," Milan

1996 Centro Arte, Milan
Elisabetta Frigieri Arte Contemporanea, Sassoulo, Italy
Neuffer Am Park, Pirmasens, Germany
Nicolae Galerie Colombus, Ohio
Martin Lawrence Galleries, Chicago and Oakbrook, Illinois and King of Prussia, Pennsylvania

1997 Oprandi Arte Contemporanea, Boltiere, Italy
Scola dei Tiraoro e Battioro, Venice, Italy
Martin Lawrence Galleries, Los Angeles, Newport Beach, San Francisco and New York
Castello Doria, Porto Venere, Italy
Galleria Nuova Gissi, Turin, Italy
Galleria d'Arte Moderna "Il Castello", Milan

1998 L'Immagine Galleria d'Arte Contemporanea, Arezzo, Italy
Ferrara Arte, Ferrara, Italy
Blu Art Arte Moderna, Alba Adriatica, Italy
Galleria Arte Rotaross, Novara, Italy
Martin Lawrence Galleries, Sherman Oaks and San Francisco, California
Galerie Le Jardin des Arts, Jingumae and Aoyama, Tokyo
Mitsukoshi, Shinjuku, Tokyo
Hankyu, Osaka, Japan
Galleria Soave, Alessandria, Italy
Galleria Botero, Pescara, Italy
Art Museum of Estonia, Tallinn, Estonia

1999 Galleria Pio Monti, Rome, Italy
Rocca Malatestiana, Fano, Italy
Le Bain Art Gallery, Rome, Italy
Martin Lawrence Galleries, New York and Oakbrook, Illinois
Palazzina Azzurra, San Benedetto del Tronto, Italy
Boxart Galleria d'Arte, San Bonifacio, Italy
Studio G, Milan, Italy

2000 ArteCapital, Brescia, Italy
Trevi Flash Art Museum of International Contemporary Art, Trevi, Italy
Guastalla Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Forte dei Marmi, Italy
Temple Gallery, Temple University, Rome, Italy
Galleria L'Ariete, Bologna, Italy
Guastalla Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Livorno, Italy
Francesco Cancelliere Artecontemporanea, Messina, Italy
Roger Smith Gallery, New York

2001 Fidesarte, Mestre-Venezia, Italy
Galleria d'Arte L'Incontro, Chiari, Italy
Floriana Tondinelli Art Gallery, Rome
Per Mari e Monti, Treia (Macerata), Italy
Banca di Teramo, Teramo, Italy
Marchese Arte Contemporanea, Prato, Italy

2002 Stefan Stux Gallery, New York
Galleria del Tasso, Bergamo, Italy
Galleria Nuova Gissi, Turin, Italy
Galleria Faustini, Forte dei Marmi, Italy
Galleria Rosini & C., Rimini, Italy

2003 Andrea Arte Contemporanea, Vicenza, Italy
Galleria Civica di Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy
Chiesina dell' Ospedale, Meldola (FC), Italy
adarte (Expoarte), Montichiari, Italy
Pio Monti, Rome
Scoletta dei Battioro, Venice
Arte Contemporanea e Dintorni, Como, Italy

2004 Magazzini del Sale, Cervia, Italy
Embassy of Estonia, Washington, D.C.
Galleria Francocancelliere, Messina, Italy
Centro d'Arte Mercurio, Palermo
Excalibur Artecontemporanea,Solcio di Lesa (No), Italy
Castello Visconteo di Vogogna (Vb), Italy
Adam Baumgold Gallery, New York


2005 Ex Museo Civica, Spoleto, Italy
Gallerie Rosini, Riccione, Italy
Pio Monti, Rome


2006 Modenarte, Modena, Italy
Galleria del Palazzo, Palazzo Coveri, Florence, Italy
Adam Baumgold Gallery, New York
Chiostro del Bramante, Rome
Antico Castello sul Mare, Rapallo, Italy
Galleria Imperatori, Porto San Giorgio, Italy
George Billis Gallery, Los Angeles

2007 Per Mari e Monti Arte Contemporanea, Civitanova Marche, Italy
Galleria Granelli, Livorno, Italy
Patricia Correia Gallery, Los Angeles
Martin Lawrence Galleries, La Jolla and San Francisco

2008 Casa dell' Arte, Contemporary Istanbul, Istanbul

2009 Per Mari e Monti Arte Contemporanea, Civitanova Marche, Italy
Museo Civico Umberto Mastroianni, Marino (Rm), Italy
Galleria d'Arte Ess&rrE, Ostia, RM, Italy
Mediart, Pescara, Italy
Galleria d'Arte L'Incontro, Chiari, Italy

2010 Pio Monti, Rome
Galleria Arte Spazio, Catanzaro, Italy
Centro d'Arte Mercurio, Rapallo, Italy
Per Mari e Monti Arte Contemporanea, (with Paul Kostabi), Civitanova Marche, Italy
Palazzo Farnese, Campli, Italy
Galleria Arte Barbato, Scafati, Italy
Galleria D'arte L'Acquario, (with Paul Kostabi), Giulianova, Italy

2011 Galleria d'Arte Merighi, Varazze (SV), Italy
Galleria D'Arte Miro, Teramo, Italy
Centro D'Arte Mercurio, Rapallo, Italy
Mercurio Arte, Palermo, Italy
Galleria La Nuova Forma, Lanciano, Italy

2012 Simboli Art Gallery, Florence, Italy
Galleria Trifoglio D'Arte, Chieti, Italy
BancaStato, Lugano, Switzerland
L'ARCA, Teramo, Italy


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