PRINT December 1988


Sadness Because the Video Rental Store Was Closed & Other Stories, by Mark Kostabi, New York: Abbeville Press, Inc., 1988, 176 pp., 186 color illustrations._

In the category of hyperchrome puerile excess between hardcovers, our nominee is . . .Sadness, etc. We actually bought this book of our own—totally inexplicable—free will. Modeled after a career on the move, it is best understood as a “flip” book in which, as pages speed by under the thumb, author’s not-so-sly humor slips into “flippage” when fast artist hits post-Structuralist wet pavement. Sadness also serves to remind us that before the advent of theory-laden appropriation there was old-fashioned copping-everything-one-can-from-other-people’s-art as a form of pictorial name-dropping.

In Mark Kostabi’s freewheeling eclecticism of emptied signs and bad puns, the privileged signifier is unmistakably the cash register (see pages 22–23,

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