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Artist and composer Mark Kostabi was born in Los Angeles in 1960 to Estonian immigrants. Raised in Whittier, California, he studied drawing, painting and music at California State University, Fullerton. Kostabi moved to New York in 1982, and by 1984, emerged as a leading figure in the East Village art scene where he cultivated a provocative media persona by publishing self-interviews reflecting on the commodification of contemporary art. By 1987, his work was widely exhibited in New York galleries as well as prominently throughout the United States, Japan, Germany and Australia. He inspired extensive international press coverage in 1988 when he founded Kostabi World, his Manhattan art studio, which employs numerous painting assistants and idea people. Beginning in the early 1990s Kostabi's work has been widely exhibited throughout Italy. Kostabi established a second home in Rome in 1996. Dividing his time between Rome and New York enabled him to dramatically enhance his presence in the Italian art scene.

 Kostabi produces a cable TV show, The Kostabi Show, where noted art critics and celebrities compete to title his paintings for cash awards.

From 2000 to 2010 he wrote an advice column for artists, Ask Mark Kostabi, for Artnet.com.

 Kostabi has designed album covers for Guns 'N' Roses (Use Your Illusion) and The Ramones (Adios Amigos), Jimmy Scott (Holding Back The Years), Seether (Holding Onto Strings Better Left to Fray) and numerous products including a Swatch watch, a Bloomingdales bag, Alessi vases, Rosenthal espresso cups, and a Giro d'Italia pink jersey.

 Kostabi is also known for his many collaborations with other artists including Enzo Cucchi, Arman, Howard Finster, Tadanori Yokoo, Enrico Baj, Paul Kostabi. And Tony Esposito. 

 Kostabi has performed concerts internationally both as a soloist and with other musicians including Ornette Coleman, Suzanne Vega, Jerry Marotta, Tony Levin, Tony Esposito, Mark Egan, Tommy Campbell, Gerry Brown, Michael Visceglia, John Lee, Paul Kostabi, Greesi Desiree Langovits, Gene Pritsker, David Taylor, William Schimmel, Gene Lake, the Composers Concordance String Orchestra and the Coro Polifonico “S. Francesco d’Assisi” di Terni. His compostions have also been performed independently by Rein Rannap, Kristjan Jarvi, Kathleen Supove, Absolute Ensemble, Maano Manni, Marko Martin, Michael Wolff, Ralf Taal, Delilah Gutman and the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra. His music has been performed in Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall and the Estonia Concert Hall. His CDs include I Did It Steinway, Songs For Sumera, New Alliance, Kostabeat, Grace Notes, Closer to First and Multiple Bridges.

 Kostabi is the subject of numerous documentary films, most notably Bottom Line: The Kostabi Phenomenon directed by Peter Bach, Con Artist directed by Michael Sladek, and Everyone - Jedermann directed by Paul Tschinkel. Full Circle: The Kostabi Story, directed by Sabrina Digregorio, My Italy, directed by Bruno Colella. Kostabi has a prominent role in the Emmy award winning documentary The Art of Failure: Chuck Connelly Not for Sale directed by Jeff Stimmel.

Retrospective exhibitions of Kostabi's paintings have been held at the Mitsukoshi Museum in Tokyo (1992) and the Art Museum of Estonia in Tallinn (1998). The famous Italian art historian and curator, Vittorio Sgarbi, curated a vast exhibition of 150 Kostabi paintings at the Chiostro del Bramante in Rome in 2006. Kostabi's work is in over 60 permanent museum collections, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, the National Gallery in Washington D.C., the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, the National Gallery of Modern Art in Rome and the Groninger Museum in Holland. 

His permanent public works include a mural in Palazzo dei Priori in Arezzo, Italy, a large bronze sculpture in the central square of San Benedetto del Tronto, Italy, a bronze portrait of Pope John Paul II in Velletri, Italy and large bronze sculpture in Largo Villa Glori, Terni, Italy.

 Kostabi has been profiled on 60 Minutes, Eye to Eye with Connie Chung, A Current Affair, Nightwatch (with Charlie Rose), The Oprah Winfrey Show, Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, Nonsolomoda, West 57th, Between the Keys, CNN, MTV and numerous television programs throughout Europe and Japan. In print he has been featured in The New York Times, People, Vogue, Architectural Digest, The Face, Playboy, Forbes, New York Magazine, The Sunday Telegraph, Domus, Corriera Della Sera, Panorama, Artforum, Art in America, ARTnews, Flash Art, Arte, Arte In and Tema Celeste. The many books published about Kostabi include Sadness Because the Video Rental Store Was Closed, Kostabi: The Early Years, Conversations with Kostabi, The Rhythm of Inspiration, Mark Kostabi and the East Village Scene 1983-1987 and Mark Kostabi in the 21st Century.In 2021 Kostabi gave a TED Talk in Fermo, Italy which has been translated into numerous languages and is visible on YouTube.

In 2021, Kostabi gave a TED Talk in Fermo, Italy which has been translated into numerous languages and is visible on YouTube.

MARK KOSTABI

DIVINE CONNECTION

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PEAK OF DESIRE

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THAT WHICH MATTERS

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Artwork

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WISDOM'S EMBRACE

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TOASTING NEW BEGINNINGS

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DIVINE PROTECTION

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ECHOES OF EUPHORIA  

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MELODIC SANCTUARY

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SECRET UNION

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ETERNAL MOMENT

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DIVINE HARMONY  

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SILENT CONTEMPLATION

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SECRETS OF THE WHISPERING WIND  

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WINDS OF DOMESTIC BLISS  

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HOLD ME FOREVER

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LIQUID FANTASY

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ETHEREAL CONNECTION

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URBAN TAPESTRY

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NEW BEGINNINGS

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PASSIONATE INTERLUDE

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DIVINE ARTISTRY

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