Tag Archive | Kostabi World

New Paintings by Mark Kostabi at Martin Lawrence Galleries

Kostabi Signage
All Art By Mark Kostabi. All Photos By Gail

Do you enjoy looking at the paintings of contemporary pop artist Mark Kostabi? I sure do. There are a few reasons why I never miss an opening reception for an exhibit of Mark’s work: not only is there a ton of great art to look at and talk about with other cool, art-loving people, but it is always a good party and a chance to, as it is sometimes referred to in the vernacular, “make the scene.” And I enjoy making the scene.

Kostabi Sculpture
I got a good shot of this sculpture, because no one else was in the gallery yet.

Just this past Thursday, I had a chance to make the scene at Mark’s current exhibit, which is going on at the Martin Lawrence Galleries on West Broadway — a very nice venue. Before I get to talking about the paintings, I want to point out how this artist reception differed from 99% of all other art openings. Please see visual documentation below.

Cheese Donuts

Look at all that cheese!

Cheese Donuts 2

Celebrity Photographer Derek Storm was overheard to say that these wheels of fine, spreadable soft cheeses reminded him of Donuts. Mmm…cheese donuts.

Cheese and Fruit Plate

So much free cheese was available — and also, wine! — it was pretty much the greatest art opening, ever. It looks like the cheese extravaganza was sponsored by a place called Castello Cheesemonger. Their cheese made me happy.

Now, on to the Art! A good number of Mark’s new paintings belong to series I made up in my head called “Barbie’s Happy Fun Day on Acid.” Get an idea of what I am talking about below.

Dancing Girl

Dancing Barbie on Acid.

Sleeping Person

Barbie Dreams of Being On Acid.

Full Length Mirror

Barbie’s Self-Reflection (On Acid).

Do you see what I mean? I love all these paintings. You can interpret them to mean what ever you want, really. Art!

Red and Black

The last time I saw this very beautiful painting, it was sitting on the floor of Mark’s studio, Kostabi World. Now, it is in a gallery and you can buy it!

Consumerism

I interpret the above painting to be a statement on consumerism and how it weighs you down like little men are hanging on to your legs.

I deliberately left the rack of chimes in that photo to remind me to mention that Mark is not only an amazing artist but also a gifted composer and wildly talented pianist. At the opening, Mark performed a few of his original compositions with his trio that includes Bassist Paul Nowniski and Drummer Keith LeBlanc. It was awesome.

Twister Sister

The painting above is called Twister Sister and it is of a lady (Acid Barbie, perhaps) playing a game of Twister on a Damien Hirst Spot Painting. I desire to own it.

Piano with Couple

This one is cool, because it goes from being in Black and White to being in Color — just like the Wizard of Oz!

Warhol Kostabi Basquiat

This is a photo from the ’80s of Mark with Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat, in which the coolness factor is off the charts.

NYC Window

I love this one a lot, too.

Angel with Cat

And this one, of an Angel with her Cat. What is making that pink glow that you see leading down from the ladder? I want to find out.

Thoughtful Angel

This is definitely a must-see exhibit, so don’t miss it!

Martin Lawrence Galleries is located at 457 West Broadway (Between Houston and Prince) in Soho, NYC.

Kostabi Painting with Signature

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It’s a Business Doing Pleasure

It' a Business Doing Pleasure

Sign Photographed By Gail At Kostabi World, the Studio and Lair of Artist and Musician Mark Kostabi, West 24th Street, NYC.

Recommended Viewing: Full Circle, The Kostabi Story

Mark Kostabi Full Circle
Image Source

The art world is filled with enigmas, and that’s what keeps it exciting. This week, I attended a screening of a new documentary film about American contemporary artist/painter Mark Kostabi, called Full Circle, The Kostabi Story, directed by Italian filmmaker Sabrina Digregorio. The film is amazing, but before I get into it, I need to get something off my chest about another excellent Kostabi documentary from 2011, called Con Artist. Because, to me, Full Circle felt very much like the bookend to Con Artist, though I am sure that was unintentional.

While Con Artist did an excellent job of distilling Mark Kostabi’s colorful life, undeniable scenester status and celebrated art career up to that point, the title of the film referenced the fact that Kostabi, like so many modern art superstars, employs a staff to execute his paintings. I’ve met Mark Kostabi casually a few times (he is extremely friendly and approachable) and even visited his Chelsea based studio, Kostabi World, so it’s not like his process is a huge, dirty secret.

Far from it. This “revelation” is not at all scandalous when you consider that Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst, among many others, employ assistants and craftsmen to execute their projects, without being subject to serious flack as to whether this step in the creative process detracts from their legitimate artistic credibility. Hell, even Michelangelo had a staff. Con Artist is an enjoyable film, but the filmmakers definitely had an agenda, and I’m still not sure if Kostabi was complicit in the way it came off. I could have asked him about it, but I never did.

Con Artist left me with a weird feeling of emotional manipulation: like I wasn’t supposed to respect Mark Kostabi or admire his art because he doesn’t personally paint every single one of his paintings. The conclusion I drew was that Kostabi had become disillusioned, abandoned the creative process and simply turned to manufacturing art, instructing his art-drones to paint in the prescribed style of “a Kostabi,” and then signing his name to that canvas. As if, by being labeled a “Con Artist,” he had surrendered to and embraced that accusation. For lack of a more eloquent phrase, it was kind of a bummer, but one that nevertheless added an additional layer of enigma to the artist.

Full Circle, on the other hand, is an extremely uplifting film. While providing only the most cursory background information on Mark, the film opts for a tight focus on his current career, his reputation among Italian art critics (Kostabi spends half the year living in Rome) and an in-depth exploration of how he works with his staff to fully realize more of his paintings – from idea to canvas – than he could possibly create physically on his own. What you get to see in full glorious detail is how all Kostabi paintings are born not just from a vague idea or rote instruction but from complete sketches that Mark provides to the painter. While the employees of Kostabi World transfer Mark’s detailed sketches to canvas he continually consults with each until the painting is up to his standards and just feels “right.”

I think that anyone who’s been confused by seeing Con Artist definitely needs to see Full Circle. Mark Kostabi really is a talented, wildly passionate and unique artist, an amazing modern classical pianist, a knowledgeable art historian and a reputable teacher. Beyond that, he is a very nice, interesting and cool person. Mark Kostabi!

I recommend Full Circle, The Kostabi Story not just to art fans who already know Mark’s work, but to anyone who is curious about Contemporary art and artists, or who feels like they don’t “get” art. I learned lot from this movie and my only minor complaint is that, at just over 60 minutes run time, it is not nearly long enough.

Watch The Trailer Below!