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.
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). ...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 at Radio City Music Hall" is no easy task. OUT Magazine
Artist Stephen Tashjian [...] 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. Paper Magazine
Jack Pierson was born in Plymouth, Massachusettes in 1960. His work was inlcuded in the 2004 Whitney Biennial, and is held in such important American collections as the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; the Guggenheim and Metropolitan museums in New York; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, among many others. Pierson lives in Southern California and New York.