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Hardcover, 9.5 x 12 in. / 224 pgs / illustrated throughout.

Pub Date
Out of stock indefinitely

D.A.P. Exclusive
Catalog: SPRING 2013 p. 30   

ISBN 9788862082648 TRADE
List Price: $50.00 CAD $67.50

Not available


the subject matter was drag, glamour, ladies’ shoes, lingerie, hairdos, vinyl



Tabboo! The Art of Stephen Tashjian

Edited by Lia Gangitano. Text by Jack Pierson, Elisabeth Kley, Lia Gangitano.

Tabboo! The Art of Stephen TashjianTabboo! The Art of Stephen Tashjian is the first monograph on the legendary underground painter, puppeteer, performer and--alongside Mark Morrisroe, Nan Goldin and Jack Pierson--member of the so-called Boston School. Tabboo!’s paintings, collages and photographs spill over with a riotous mixture of punk energy and high camp; in a 1995 interview with Linda Simpson about his early work, he observed: “the subject matter was drag, glamour, ladies’ shoes, lingerie, hairdos, vinyl--same as now.” Tabboo! laces these exuberant themes with defiant resolve, from poignant tributes to friends lost to AIDS, to fairy tales fashioned into sophisticated treatises on gentrification. Chronicling the young artist’s arrival in the apocalyptic East Village of the 1980s, Tabboo! The Art of Stephen Tashjian also presents a vast archive of flyers, snapshots and other ephemera that charts the development of the drag performance scene from the Pyramid Club to Wigstock, highlighting its intersection with popular culture and the 1980s art world. Tabboo!’s own writings, along with essays by Jack Pierson, Elisabeth Kley and Lia Gangitano (the book’s editor), detail his life’s work and his collaborations with Mark Morrisroe, Pat Hearn, Howard Stern, Nan Goldin and Deee-Lite, among others. Tabboo!’s distinctive style had a profound impact on leading cultural figures of his generation, including Goldin, Morrisroe, Jack Pierson, Steven Meisel, Steven Klein, David Armstrong and Philip-Lorca diCorcia, whose portraits of Tabboo! are also included in the publication.

Featured image is reproduced from Tabboo! The Art of Stephen Tashjian.


Paper Magazine

Carlo McCormick

Artist Stephen Tashjian -- best known by his drag stage name Tabboo! -- has been subverting the norms of good taste for so long now, it seems almost impossible to describe him to the uninitiated. Thankfully, Tashjian's work, a secret treasure from the golden age of '80s New York subculture, will be available to generations of new, young admirers via the book Tabboo! The Art of Stephen Tashjian, a flamboyant account of his life and art.... the book reflects an untold creative wealth. Tabboo! is a poignant autobiography chronicling the evolution of a soul that would never grow up, as well as a peculiar portrait of beauty from a figure who has been muse to many, including Steven Klein, Nan Goldin, Ai Weiwei and Jack Pierson (who wrote an essay for the book). But most of all, the book is a remarkable collection of paintings from an artist whose visionary brut stands as some of the finest work produced in the East Village of yore.

OUT Magazine

Known to most by his drag name, Tabboo!, East Village artist Stephen Tashjian has been a muse, writer, performer, puppeteer, and underground inspiration to many (RuPaul included). This year's book, Tabboo! The Art of Stephen Tashjian - a combination of his visual art and writings, 1980s photographs, and other ephemera - does its best to capture his ebullient persona, though summing up a man who can say, " I met Andy Warhol and he took my picture and he paid for my tickets to go see Liberace ar Radio City Music Hall" is no easy task.

Tabboo! The Art of Stephen Tashjian

STATUS: Out of stock indefinitely.



Tabboo! The Art of Stephen Tashjian

Tabboo! The Art of Stephen Tashjian

By Jack Pierson

"The first time I laid eyes on Stephen Tashjian was about thirty-two years ago, probably to the day. It was my first day of art school in a class called the Studio for Interrelated Media, which one would loosely define as 'performance.' I was awestruck, astonished, and instantly smitten with his physical beauty, as well as his incredibly articulated style. He wore: red wide wale corduroy pants and a sort of zoot suit cut, a rust colored '50s shirt with a vertical striped marcella front tucked in with perfect skinny belt; and very worn red wind breaker a la James Dean in RWAC, although I'm sure that was not a reference he was hoping to make. He is a superb colorist and the clash of many different reds could have been horrible but instead it was marvelous. What held it all together were his Persian features and jet-black hair in a burst of full ringlets on the top, but short on the sides, what may have been called a poodle cut. It sounds unfortunate now, but he made it work. He also used an eyebrow pencil to further smudge his face into what looked like an Emil Nolde painting come to life. I thought he was the most incredible thing I ever saw. The shoes were black and very pointy, not exactly Beatle boots but Beatle shoes, slip-ons without a Cuban heel. He shuffled, as opposed to walked, giving him a cartoonish quality, like how they walked in cartoons. To reference yet another genius akin to his own, you might also picture Charlie Chaplin. Yes, he may have artily mismatched his socks, but the combination exploded rather than irritated. He was amazing at a radical yet comfortable looking presentation. I was rather less so. Fresh from the suburbs I might have actually been wearing Britannia jeans and a white button down shirt with some piece of 'masculine' jewelry and a black jacket, hoping to affect pictures I had seen of Patti Smith. Stephen was, albeit a few years ahead of me, so self assured and un-needing of outside affirmation that it made all his moves bold and fascinating. I fell under his thrall. Although, I can't imagine I dared approach him—not that he was cool or aloof, just that I was painfully shy and sort of, as I said, enamored. But I do remember that we connected on that day and were off, as the saying goes, to the races.

Stephen rarely gets sentimental until you actually die. I suspect, though he didn't ever return my ardor, he was joyful to have such a receptive dauphin. Speaking of dolphins and poodles, I remember at that moment they were powerful archetypes for Stephen. The first performance I saw him do, I say, although I'm not sure, was called 'Dolphins are Homosexual.' Unless the first was actually, 'Gig Stevens' Incredibly Hot Drag Review.' Who knows.

In any case, it very likely proceeded along these lines: Stephen would struggle into a strapless, '50s tulle prom gown, no wig, now makeup. At that time those contrivances were anathema to him, indications of some old Combat Zone drag queen lip-synching in a bar. By eschewing those conventions, he was able to transform with a pair of pink vinyl spike heels, into a ginchy New Wave visionary. The performance essentially consisted of him changing records and costumes over and over with a horrendous scrape of the needle across the record each time, at a frantic pace. Then he might twirl around and declaim, 'Did you know dolphins are homosexual? It's true!' The effect was both horrifying and enchanting. I wonder what he meant to express.

Here's another anecdote Jimmy Paul suggested I tell, and it does speak to the interconnectedness that artists hope to achieve by being creative. Stephen had a job in the admissions office at Mass Art. Get into that sentence for a moment why don't you? Sometime after we had become friends, he realized that he had 'made a case' a year earlier for my portfolio to the admissions officer. I applied as a graphic designer, and, it being 1980, most of what I submitted was color Xerox collage with a rock and roll feel. One of them had a typewritten Roxy Music lyric and a homoerotic postcard. Stephen, never prone to over-zealous compliments, told me he thought: 'Well, this is at least something different, might as well get him in here.' And switched mine from the 'reject' to 'accept' pile. In a weird way I guess, I owe him my life." continue to blog



Tabboo! Book Signing Sunday at MoMA PS1

Tabboo! Book Signing Sunday at MoMA PS1

This Sunday at 3PM, ARTBOOK @ MoMA PS1 and Participant invite you to join TABBOO! signing copies of his new book—TABBOO! The Art of Stephen Tashjian, published by Damiani—in the VW Dome.

Sunday, October 20, 2013
3:00pm - 4:00pm
VW Dome | MoMA PS1
22-25 Jackson Ave, Queens, NYC

To pre-order a signed copy call 718- 433-1088.
continue to blog


Tabboo!: Cityscapes


Karma Books, New York

ISBN: 9781949172805
USD $50.00
| CAD $70 UK £ 43

Pub Date: 1/24/2023
Active | Out of stock

Tabboo!: 1982–88

TABBOO!: 1982–88

Karma Books, New York/Gordon Robichaux, New York

ISBN: 9781949172577
USD $40.00
| CAD $54.5 UK £ 32

Pub Date: 7/13/2021
Active | In stock