Shout Magazine

Mark Kostabi on The Road Show

I confess! As yet another example of the placating incestuousness that swamps all credible relationships in the art world, I am writing about “The Road Show,” partly because my work is in it. I also hope that curator Mike Weiss (that unshaven scamp who irritates art snobs, a.k.a. “the Don King of the art world”) does more nice things that help my career because I’m “stepping up” to promote his latest remarkable act of genius.

Not since the 1980s has New York seen a summer group show so festive, powerful, and informative. This disparate group of explosive talents (50 artists total) has been brilliantly arranged with a keen-eyed museum level curatorial perfectionism that leaves the viewer’s mind swimming through a kaleidoscopic smorgasbord of recent New York art. How’s that for hype?

This assignment show (a group show in which the curator asks the artists to create works that reference a chosen theme, in this case, the road) was attended by over 1,000 people on its opening night. And they didn’t even need to serve alcohol! Weiss firmly believes that the art itself should be the draw. And it is, along with the nice personalities of many of the artists in the show.

I recommend that you look at that gouache by Tricia Keightley because she was nice to me when I first met her, last summer in New Jersey at a pool party thrown by art collector Steve Shane. On another occasion, while I was having tea with Mike Weiss at the Cyber Café on Lafayette Street, Tricia dropped by and spoke with us for a half hour. Her parting words were, “Thanks for hanging out with me.” There was something really modest and nice about that. I think she’s going to be famous.

Keightley’s work, curiously, reminds me of Dr. Seuss images, filtered through a sophisticated 1990s high-art sensibility. She really knows how to use green. Another nice artist is Brandon Ballengee, who steals the show with a giant sculpture of Godzilla exhaling smoke while eating train cars and trucks and dripping glow-in-the-dark green goop.

Thank you for reading my column. I put as much care into these articles as I do my paintings and music. They are an important ingredient of my work, like my ads in Flash Art.

July 1999