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Text by Jarrett Earnest, Alex Jovanovich.
Early paintings and ephemera by Tabboo!, full of 1980s New York punk glamour
This clothbound volume appraises the formative years, from 1982 to 1988, of legendary performer, painter, designer, puppeteer and muse Tabboo!’s career. The book displays historical ephemera—including homemade flyers for performances at iconic clubs—along with the artist’s paintings. Additionally, an essay on the “Glamorous Life” by Jarrett Earnest explicates the thematic concerns of the catalog. In a 1995 interview with Linda Simpson about his early work, Tabboo! observed: “the subject matter was drag, glamour, ladies’ shoes, lingerie, hairdos, vinyl—same as now.” Tabboo!: 1982–88 underscores the joy of creating and living, exuberantly.
Tabboo! (Stephen Tashjian, born 1959) moved to New York City’s East Village in 1982 and quickly established himself as a fixture in its drag scene. In the style of fellow Boston School artists Nan Goldin, Jack Pierson and Mark Morrisroe, he chronicled the zeitgeist with a raw, diaristic approach. In his work, dizzying visuals of nightlife and its cast of characters accompany affectionate portraits of his friends; seedy glamour and high camp meet in a jubilant fusion of collage, paintings and photography. Not one to be an aloof observer, Tabboo! was often photographed himself—by Goldin, Morrisroe, Pierson, Steven Meisel, Steven Klein, David Armstrong and Philip-Lorca diCorcia. Both creator and muse, chronicler and participant, he emblematizes the open experimentation central to the mythology of glamorous underground culture.
"Self-Portrait" (1982) is reproduced from 'Tabboo!: 1982–88'.
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FROM THE ARTBOOK BLOG
CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 8/1/2021
"Spanish Lucy Drag" (1984) is reproduced from Tabboo! 1982–88, the vivd new clothbound hardcover from Karma Books and Gordon Robichaux. Collecting paintings and ephemera from the legendary performer, painter, designer and puppeteer's early days in NYC, this book also contains an essay by Jarrett Earnest and reminiscences by the artist as told to Alex Jovanovich. "Back in the day, downtown was mostly factories, and many were going out of business," Tabboo! (aka Stephen Tashjian) is quoted. "I’d say this was around 1984: I was walking down 14th Street and this huge glitter factory had closed, and they’d dumped their deadstock onto the street. Boxes and boxes of old school glitter. The kind that’s illegal now. It cuts your eyes. You can’t get this shit at Michaels. Every single color just like the paint chips at Sherman-Williams: magenta, light blue, steel grays, light greens… As soon as I opened one of the boxes and the sun hit the glitter, my head exploded, and other people started grabbing the boxes like pigeons to crumbs. I grabbed as many as I could—maybe forty-five boxes—and ran home and back to get more. I knew right away I wanted to use the glitter in the paintings just like when we threw glitter into Jackie Curtis’ coffin." continue to blog
KARMA BOOKS, NEW YORK/GORDON ROBICHAUX, NEW YORK
USD $40.00 | CAN $54.5 UK £ 32
Pub Date: 7/13/2021
Active | In stock