Published by Karma Books, New York/Gordon Robichaux, New York. Text by Jarrett Earnest, Alex Jovanovich.
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.
Published by Damiani. Edited by Lia Gangitano. Text by Jack Pierson, Elisabeth Kley, Lia Gangitano.
Tabboo! 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.