Among the many items Stephen Tashjian alias Tabboo! has on display in Paul Kasmin Gallerys annex space are his black glitter Dionne Warwick portrait Spin-Listen-Dig and a full-length nude self-portrait.
Tabboo! Gives You Fever
Not gay art gives you ennui; bring a brolly
BY DAVID SPIHER
Stephen Tashjianpainter, illustrator, and infamous East Village drag performance legend Tabboo!is doing it her way at the Paul Kasmin Gallery annex space. As part of the larger the Name of this show is Not Gay Art exhibition curated by photographer Jack Pierson, Tashjian, never the reticent one, crosses all of the lines turning his space into a combination gallery, performance installation, thrift shop, tenement loft that Tabboo! inhabits on a near daily basis.
The lone painter among the Boston Museum School photographersNan Goldin, David Armstrong, Jack Pierson, and Mark MorrisroeTashjian is of old school East Village stock having danced on the bar at the Pyramid, performed on the stages of Wigstock, and been documented in the New Museums East Village Show and NYU/Grey Art Gallerys Downtown Show. At the Kasmin annex, treasures abound among the performance detritus from documents of Alphabet City murals, illustrations for Dee-Lites World Clique, Quentin Crisp, Art Forum, a book of poetry with Vincent Katz a rainbow glitter portrait of Sylvester, and the Marsha P. Johnson/Sylvia Rivera Bricks from Stonewallpresented on a Judy Garland plinth, naturally.
A new body of paintings on raw linen includes a number of DivasNina Simone, Joan Crawford, and Roberta Flackand some beautiful painted still lifes. Particular standouts are Tashjians full-length, nude self-portrait, paintings of coconuts and limes, and cantaloupes that cant elope.
If you are lucky enough to come for a viewing when Tabboo! is in the space you are in for treat and a treatment as well. Tabboo! has all of the dish going way, way back and she tells all. Be sure to ask her about the beautiful black glitter Dionne Warwick portrait Spin-Listen-Dig and the subjects relationship to Marlene Dietrich. Besides sit down/stand up conversations with gallery goers around the orange plush loveseat and blue hydrangeas, Tashjian often engages in sing-a-longs with Dolly and Maria Callas, political dissections of the current administration, and radical faerie runway parades. Intimidating and over the top, sure; but also exhilarating, and in the end alive and rather thrilling that he puts himself so far out there.
Jack Piersons larger curated show at the main gallery hosts lots of really fun LGBT and LGBT friendly artists with a supposedly post-label stance that Gay Art, whatever or whoever that is, is now passé; that weformerly known as the LGBT communityare so far out that we virtually are the culture. Dont you just love it when the style council decides that something is overfor everyone. Sisterwoman, did you know that you are now mainstreamthats right girlyeah, Jack Pierson said so. But, even with work from the deeply closeted Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Cy Twombly, and James Brown hung amongst familyAndy, Keith, Mapplethorpe, Indiana, Hartley, and Louise Fishmanfor the first time, Im not buying the dopey premise of this show.
A short walk amongst the current shows in the Chelsea galleries reveals the ugly side of the porn/fashion/celebrity/art axis. Youll be amazed at the number of straight boy artists involved with sexy girl urinating as a subject matter. Take an umbrella; it will get a lot of use. Degradation, frat boy idiocy, and misogynist heterosexism tends to rule the galleries right now, and just personally, I have felt cleaner coming out of the Westside Club. I sure hope we, as a communitywhatever or whoever that isarent really responsible for this state of affairs.