Do not worry about damaging anything (damage is good),” it read. “Nothing will be for sale. All will be thrown out after the show.” Seeing his unsold works strewn across the floor of the gallery, Mr. Parrino coolly proceeded to cover their surfaces with black enamel and carve them up with an electric saw. “Steven was extremely anarchic, especially in relation to gallerists,” said Jutta Koether, a German-born artist who was a friend and frequent collaborator of Mr. Parrino. “He’d been put through the ringer so much. He was like, ‘I don’t have to do this if I don’t want to.’ ”

[...]

Still, the market’s embrace of Mr. Parrino, Mr. Taylor and Mr. Goldstein within a decade of their respective deaths elicits some skepticism. “On the one hand, it’s incredibly romantic,” the artist Robert Longo said in an interview. “These artists are finally getting their due. On the other hand, it’s about a commodity. There’s a limited supply.”
thx skinny
- bill 6-22-2008 8:08 am

Hi, Bill,
Is this true? (see first comment)

- tom moody 7-24-2008 9:07 am [add a comment]


  • I think it's bullshit. Steve was married for what, 6 or 8 years? He was single for most of the 21 years I knew him. He had a modest but solid collector base in Europe which enabled him to work full time as an artist, with no other job, before he met Monica and after they divorced.
    - steve 7-24-2008 10:52 am [add a comment]



toms link leads to this post:

"Dorothy Spears, on Steven Parrino, for the NYTimes - "In eight years and five solo New York shows, his former dealer José Freire said, he sold only two of Mr. Parrino’s paintings, one for $9,000 and the other for $10,000" I'm always curious how artists support themselves, especially those that are living in super-expensive NYC. What was Parrino doing for money"

and this comment:

Anonymous said...
parrino was supported a good amount of that time by his wife, who worked full time.
the short answer is yes, while steve was married his wife worked. what is not reflected in the exchange however is the understanding of how choosing life in marginal (and sometimes dangerous!) neighborhoods could skirt the "super-expensive NYC" (real estate market, scene?) the poster refers to. and i think that probably was jose's experience, but steve managed for the most part on his own supported by meager european sales. he also shared his manhattan ave space with (2, 3, 4) other live/work artists. steve also knew how to live within his means and seamed to require little other than his music gear, bike and art materials. ok he did always sharp at openings too!
- bill 7-24-2008 10:48 am [add a comment]


I think it's bullshit. Steve was married for what, 6 or 8 years? He was single for most of the 21 years I knew him. He had a modest but solid collector base in Europe which enabled him to work full time as an artist, with no other job, before he met Monica and after they divorced.
yeah, what steve said: b.s.
- bill 7-24-2008 11:10 am [add a comment]


Thanks, does anyone know this Blake Blair Thurman who supposedly brokered the transition to Gagosian, per the Times? I thought it was a family member. [Update: more on Thurman below]

The BS seems to be flying so I wanted to ask some people who knew Parrino.

Jose's "only sold two paintings" yarn seemed dubious because I knew Parrino had a European career--evidently the Times couldn't be bothered to fact check that in the rush to make art mythology.
- tom moody 7-24-2008 11:21 am [add a comment]


  • its blair thurman. i dont know him.
    - bill 7-24-2008 11:50 am [add a comment]



Corrected, thanks.
- tom moody 7-24-2008 12:42 pm [add a comment]


by super expensive yes i guess i mean mostly the real estate... i'm currently living in a nice little apt over the battenkill river in washington county, ny which costs $575/month. my previous apt, in richmond va, was a twobdrm two(full)bth with heat and hot water included, for $650/month total. it was in a real nice old neighborhood, right off monument avenue.

but also i meant general cost of life... and yes i live an extremely frugal lifestyle. right now i work on a vegetable farm for $9/hour if that gives you an idea, in richmond i was a raft guide and waited tables.

i can barely pay for that cheap rent, utilities and food (no car, no insurance, student loans in default) so yeah i was wondering how he could do it in nyc on apparently less than ten grand over eight years, plus whatever supplements might be provided by the european sales.

i know you guys are all super cool and knew parrino and all so of course i understand how you couldn't be bothered to clear any of that up over there.
- martin (guest) 7-24-2008 2:38 pm [add a comment]


I was going to link to this discussion once concluded so the dig is not necessary.
- tom moody 7-24-2008 3:13 pm [add a comment]


easy tiger. we were discussing some inaccuracies in your comment column. feel free to correct the record if you like. no one is judging you. your question did seem oblivious to the reality of nyc life in the 70's - 80's when it was possible for a young artist to survive as working class poor. i have friends who currently pay mid 700 dollar range here in jersey city if you want help locating a studio in the nyc vicinity. no car or health insurance needed.

(i was composing a response while tom made his comment)
- bill 7-24-2008 3:21 pm [add a comment]


sorry. i felt like i was getting made fun of for asking a question.

(and i was thinking it was the 90's and early 2000's... i understand the 70's were a whole different deal)





- martin (guest) 7-24-2008 5:22 pm [add a comment]


dont worry about it. steve was a parsons student in the late 70's. he briefly found work as an assistant to a famous metro pictures artist. in the 80's lived in a small apt on ludlow st w/ his wife for a while and shared a large relatively inexpensive ground floor studio on a dreadful little patch on the edge of industrialized BKLN. him and his mates were lucky that the rent was rarely raised throughout the 90's and 00's. it would be a misrepresentation to suggest that SP was kept by a wife as per your commenter, thats all. take care man.
- bill 7-24-2008 6:04 pm [add a comment]


Just noticed that Blair Thurman commented here on the Tree about the NY Times Parrino obit.

Thurman is an artist showing mostly in Europe per this bio.
- tom moody 7-25-2008 9:07 am [add a comment]


Not sure why the Times described him as "a friend and adviser to the estate" and left out the artist part. From that bio it looks like Parrino put him in his first group show.
- tom moody 7-25-2008 9:10 am [add a comment]


he did very well in europe and also i bet sold some art in nyc besides Team
- Skinny 7-25-2008 9:14 am [add a comment]


In the interest of accuracy and dispelling urban myths:

1. Parrino was at Team from 1997-2005.

2. Anaba's anonymous commenter says "Parrino was supported a good amount of that time by his wife."

Does anyone know what years Parrino was married and/or whether they overlapped the Team time frame?


- tom moody 7-25-2008 12:23 pm [add a comment]


i dont think there was any overlap at all. but im not sure of the exact dates he was married. here is his bio.
- bill 7-25-2008 12:50 pm [add a comment]


Thanks. I've done a post about the Times' mythologizing.

It bugs me a bit to see this hype process unfolding, and the uncritical use of the quote from Jose.

I'm guessing the writer googled Parrino, saw what you and others had written about Parrino's recycling process, and then used that as "evidence" that he rarely sold.

I'm counting at least 25 solo shows not at Team, which suggests he didn't lack attention in his lifetime.

- tom moody 7-27-2008 6:37 pm [add a comment]


  • BILL & TOM --
    I'M GLAD TO SEE AN INTEREST IN STEVE & THAT YOU BOTH HAVE SOME PIECES OF THE PUZZLE.
    A CLEAR AND MORE ACCURATE RECORD OF THIS ARTIST IS SORELY NEEDED --- PARTLY BECAUSE FACTS WILL DISPLACE MOST OF THE CHITTERING ON PARRINO'S SALES--- THIS ISSUE ,AND DISPARAGING THE GAGOSIAN ENTRY, BOUNCE AROUND IN A RELATIVE VACUUM DEVOID OF ALL BUT SOME WORN MARKET TID-BIT OR AUCTION RESULT
    FOR EXAMPLE ; IT'S TRUE THAT AFTER A HOT STREAK IN THE 80'S , PARRINO SOLD FEW PAINTINGS IN THE 90'S OR THE 00'S WHETHER IN NY OR EUROPE
    STEVE WAS FIERCELY LOYAL TO A SMALL GROUP OF DEALERS WHO-- FOR A VARIETY OF SPECIFIC REASONS-- DID NOT PRODUCE SALES FOR HIM
    HOW DID HE SURVIVE ? WHAT PAID THE BILLS ? AS IT HAPPENS I KNOW SOME OF THAT STORY AND I CAN TELL YOU IT IS IRRELEVANT. WHAT WE NEED IS : TO KNOW ABOUT THE SHOWS ! --LIKE THE GREAT DANNY NEWBURG SHOW {1993 ?} --- JOHN GIBSON -- THE NICKAS HISTORY --
    THE PERFORMANCE AT PAULA COOPER--- COLLABORATION WITH CADY NOLAND---- STEVE DI BENEDETTO --- MIKE SCOTT --- THE GENEVA HISTORY --THE LYON HISTORY AND ON AND ON
    WHEN WE LOOK AT THE CAREER - THE WORK ; WE SEE A MASTER IN NEED OF A GREAT DEAL OF RESEARCH AND A MAJOR AMERICAN RETROSPECT --WE'RE WORKING ON IT, CAN YOU GUYS HELP ? YOU WOULD BE WELCOME !
    BACK , IN CLOSING, TO GAGOSIAN ----- YOU MAY KNOW BUT I'LL TELL YOU ANYWAY THAT THEY CAN MAKE WAY MORE MONEY ON ANYTHING OTHER THAN PARRINO ; THEY'RE IN IT BECAUSE THEY RECOGNISED THE POWER OF THE WORK ,....... THEYR'E IN IT FOR THE PRESTIGE !
    --- BEST --B



    - BLAIR (guest) 7-29-2008 12:38 am [add a comment] [edit]



An artist's means of support is generally not relevant. Unfortunately the "newspaper of record" has made it relevant by suggesting a relationship between Parrino's content (recycling, destroying artworks) and his economic status vis a vis the art world.

What should be done about that? I'm doing what I can to gather relevant facts that might call this "theory" of the NY Times's into question.

Has Gagosian Gallery written a letter to the Times challenging this "theory" if it has no merit or relevance to the gallery's effort to critically evaluate/re-evaluate Parrino? I bet it hasn't.
- tom moody 7-29-2008 5:37 am [add a comment]


  • LOOK I'M SORRY ABOUT MY AWFUL TYPING OK ?
    NO -- OF COURSE I AGREE WITH YOU ABOUT BOTH TIMES ARTICLES AND IT'S IMPORTANT TO CALL THEM ON IT.
    DID YOU NOTICE, BY THE WAY, THAT SMITH MORE RECENTLY DROPPED THE PARRINO NAME INTO A REVIEW OF DAVID SMITH SPRAY PAINT DRAWINGS ? --- I THINK THE OTHER NEAR REFERENCE WAS SERRA -MAYBE- I DONT REMEMBER EXACTLY , BUT THAT REVIEW CAME OUT AROUND THE TIME OF HER HUSBAND'S ARTICLE IN NEW YORK MAGAZINE --- SALTZ MENTIONS HIS OWN RE- ADJUSTMENT TOWARDS PARRINO
    THE PREVALENT PRE-GAGO SALTZ OPINION WAS SOMETHING TO THE EFFECT THAT PARRINO HAD BEEN PAINTING THE SAME PAINTING FOR TEN {OR WAS IT 20} YEARS
    SO --ON THE ONE HAND YOU HAVE TO SAY WE'VE MADE SOME PROGRESS WITH THIS COUPLE - A TASK "TEAM " WAS UN-ABLE OR UNWILLING TO ACCOMPLISH AND THEN YOU CAN ALSO START TO GET A PICTURE OF WHY NEW YORK WAS SUCH A TOUGH SELL
    WILL GAGO STEP IN TO CORRECT MIS-CONCEPTIONS-- I MUST FIRST SAY THAT I DON'T WORK FOR THEM OR SPEAK FOR THEM ; I WORK FOR THE ESTATE PRO BONO - BUT I CAN TELL YOU THAT IT'S NOT THEIR STYLE TO INTERFERE WITH THE PRESS , THEY DID PUT OUT A NICE CATALOG WITH AN ESSAY BY VINCENT PECOIL WHICH I THOUGHT WAS PRETTY GREAT


    - ALSO- IT LOOKS AS THOUGH THEY WILL DO THE CATALOG RAISONNEE --HOPEFULLY A LOT OF MISSING RESEARCH WILL OCCUR IN THAT PROCESS-- AND, OF COURSE , ONE GOAL IS A MORE COMPLETE BOOK

    PREVIOUS TO SELECTING VINCENTFOR THE ESSAY I HAD APPROACHED THE USUAL SUSPECTS HERE IN NEW YORK AND ENCOUNTERED STRONG RELUCTANCE AND THIS RELUCTANCE IS A FACTOR NOT MUCH DISCUSSED AS IT RESIDES VERY MUCH AMONG THOSE AS YOU SAY, " WHO KNEW HIM BEST " AS WELL AS OF COURSE THE AFORE MENTIONED CRITICS
    WHAT I'M SAYING IS THAT THERE IS AMONG US A CERTAIN UN -WILLINGNESS ,EVEN A RESENTMENT TOWARDS THE ELEVATION OF PARRINO SORT OF' IF I CANT HAVE YOU, NO-ONE CAN! 'EFFECT WHICH I THINK HAS SOMETHING TO DO WITH THE VERY LARGE ROLE STEVE PLAYED IN COLLABORATION CURATION INFLUENCE OF YOUNGER ARTISTS , EXTENSIVE WORK IN THE SO- CALLED NON -PROFIT SECTOR ESPECIALLY IN EUROPE -AND THE MUSIC &FILM WORK INHERENTLY NON -COMMERCIAL IN A WAY IT'S AS IF IT WOULD HAVE BEEN MORE CONVENIENT FOR HIM TO REMAIN UNSUCCESSFUL -- JUST OUR LITTLE SECRET.
    TO SERVE HISTORY THE THREAD OF PARRIN0 'S WORK THAT RUNS THROUGH THE FABRIC OF ART MUST BECOME MORE GENERALLY VISIBLE --- SO WHAT IF GAGOSIAN HAPPENS TO BE
    THE INSTRUMENT IN THIS CASE ,THEY ARE SIMPLY DOING WHAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN DONE MUCH EARLIER.
    NOW IT'S THE USUAL SUSPECTS WHO NEED TO RETURN TO THE SCENE.

    BEST----B
    - BLAIR (guest) 7-29-2008 9:24 am [add a comment] [edit]


  • i know what your saying. and how can it be worth millions now while MSM crits (mags and papers) ignored him while he was living. wtf with that disparity? who fell down in their job there? these trusted folks with the keen eye for good work. galleries who wont speak truth to power. steve needs a steven colbert advocate. more later.. thanks for chiming in.
    - bill 7-29-2008 9:38 am [add a comment]



hey blair, (and here)

lacking a better historical record, im not sure gagosian has much to refer to to correct the record from. my beef started with smiths nyt obit. "...with a relentless if oddly energetic punk nihilism,..." (in the first sentence!!!) and i think i had issue with the umbrella term neo-geo and how it was defined by who she considered neo-geo artists:

Mr. Parrino first showed his paintings at Nature Morte, an East Village gallery, in 1984, emerging as part of a strain of postmodernism called Neo-Geo. Neo-Geo artists, who included Peter Halley, Wallace & Donahue, Haim Steinbach, John Armleder and Olivier Mosset, mixed modernist abstraction with a more cynical form of Pop Art worldliness by adding references to commerce, design, music or the movies.
i didnt recall steve using the term for personal identification. but then i recalled olivier's essay: MOSSET, Olivier. "STAR TREK, Neo-Geo: The Next Generation." Bomb Magazine Fall 1989: XXIX. so i could be altogether wrong on that note. lets just say its a loaded term used loadedly.

there certainly should be an authoritative record produced and the author would do well to start with interviewing the following people who were among the closest to steve: olivier mosset, bob nickas, steve di benedetto, monica (his wife) cady noland, joan wallace, matty mccaslin. he had many many other good friends who im sure would be glad to help as well. and then there were the nyc galleries: danny newberg, john gibson, david robbins (then of nature morte gallery), jose. also who ever his contact at metro pictures was. blair, the limited help i could be is questionable but im at your service. glad to hear something is in the works. thanks for sticking up for steve and keeping an interest. i should see steve di and matty tonight at the buttholes show. ill mention it.
- bill 7-29-2008 7:37 am [add a comment]


one other note: despite the matter of limited sales, steve really liked showing at team. he preferred the context of the rough edges of the space and working with peers lisa and jose to the higher end spreads. at least thats what he said.


- bill 7-29-2008 9:04 am [add a comment]


  • OF COURSE. I MUST AGREE THAT STEVE REALLY LIKED SHOWING AT TEAM - THAT IS A FACT

    MY QUESTION IS- WHERE DID IT TAKE HIM ? MUSEUM SHOWS NATIONALLY ? WEST COAST ? NEW YORK OR NATIONAL CRITICAL ATTENTION OR PUBLICATION ?

    WHAT TEAM GOT OUT OF IT -- ON THE OBVIOUS SIDE -- WAS A TREMENDOUS INFLUENCE ON IT'S THEN YOUNG AND NOW FAMOUS ARTISTS ---- AND HERE AGAIN IS A HUGE AREA FOR CURATION AND DISCUSSION.

    IT'S ALSO CERTAINLY TRUE THAT STEVE WAS STIMULATED IN HIS OWN WORK BY THESE SAME THEN YOUNG ARTISTS.- DITTO ON CURATION GOLD !

    PEERS CAN BE CLOSE FRIENDS BUT THEY WILL HAVE THEIR OWN AGENDA -- AND THIS IS USUALLY 3X TRUE WHEN WE'RE TALKIN ' ARTISTS & ARTIST/ GALLERISTS

    YOU MAY THINK THE WORLD OF CERTAIN GALLERIES AND DESPISE OTHERS {ME TOO} BUT IN THIS CASE THE FACT REMAINS THAT, EVEN AFTER HIS DEATH, STEVE'S GALLERIES WERE- FOR THE MOST PART -UNABLE TO CLOSE SIGNIFICANT SALES OR TO ARRANGE MAJOR SHOWS --
    NEITHER DID THEY SUPPORT TO ANY GREAT DEGREE THE CRUCIAL GENEVA PARRINO RETROSPECTIVE OF 2006

    {WHICH THEN TRAVELLEDTO PALAIS TOKYO IN A MODIFIED VERSION CALLED "THE MARQUE NOIR " 2007 }

    THE ORIGINAL SHOW WAS CARRIED SOLELY BY MAMCO GENEVA AND ON THE BACK OF FABRICE STROUN ,THE CURATOR ; & THE PARRINO FAMILY AND 1OR 2 FRIENDS . I THINK THIS IS A VERY CLEAR FACT WHICH MAKES FOR ACCURATE CONCUSIONS .
    AND NOW,,, THANKS FOR THE TIME !
    BEST ,,,B
    - BLAIR (guest) 7-29-2008 3:47 pm [add a comment] [edit]


  • i would guess that steve had confidence in his work. he took solace in knowing that certain minds he admired, respected his work ...and GOT IT!. im sure he felt he had all the time in the world for the rest to catch up with him. the confrontation via PUNK-VIOLENCE and SATANIST affiliations were guaranteed to flush out the stuff shirts. that was intentional and fundamental on symbolic and literal levels. it was a matter of setting (or resetting) RADICAL standards in painting and art. ill quote tom moody here : "Sometimes nihilism does mean nihilism, prompting the people it makes uncomfortable to explain it away as career frustration." the question is not how did he survive. dont worry about him he survived just fine as long as he did. what is obvious now is that ignoring him critically kept the art world apple cart upright and the status quo in place. its easier for every one who feeds at the art trough that way. steves roots were dadaist and he died a radical. with his boots on.
    - bill 7-29-2008 4:16 pm [add a comment]



I can’t add a lot without digging into moldering boxes of ephemera, but I think Steve was divorced around 1995. Wasn’t that the year of the 1107 show at Gibson? My recollection is that Steve DJ’d at the opening and we joked about how he was working out his emotional trauma via his punk rock collection. Actually I think the divorce was pretty hard on him. Monica kept the place on Ludlow and that’s when he moved into the 1107 Manhattan studio space full time.
- alex 7-29-2008 2:56 pm [add a comment]


ALSO I KNOW STEVE WORKED FOR KES ZAPKUS --WHO WAS AT JOHN WEBER LATE 70'S EARLY EIGHTIES
STEVE SHOWED AT METRO BUT I WASN'T AWARE HE HAD WORKED FOR A METRO ARTIST
- BLAIR (guest) 7-29-2008 3:57 pm [add a comment]


ALSO I KNOW STEVE WORKED FOR KES ZAPKUS --WHO WAS AT JOHN WEBER LATE 70'S EARLY EIGHTIES
STEVE SHOWED AT METRO BUT I WASN'T AWARE HE HAD WORKED FOR A METRO ARTIST
- BLAIR (guest) 7-29-2008 3:57 pm [add a comment]


Longo
- alex 7-29-2008 4:06 pm [add a comment]


blair,

would you mind contacting me by e.mail:

schwarzstudio@aol.com


i'd like to discuss this with you.


thanks and rgds,

bill schwarz


- bill 8-01-2008 7:15 am [add a comment]


hi guys, if I can help with anything, please let me know. Steve was not married while at Team in NY. You could say that he was at Team longer than the dates you mention, as he was in one of the two shows at the original Team in Washington DC, with a collaborative piece with Alix Lambert. And he was my friend since i met him when i was still in undergrad. So you could say that Team came partly from him in the first place, before Jose was Team.

Please don't underestimate the value of Steven's collaboration with Team. It was never about money. There was a great vibe and influence between the artists of the gallery, and maybe that made some others feel left out. Times change and what is important changes with that too.

For what it is worth, considering how much J&R disliked the work, it was quite an accomplishment on Jose's part to get her to step up to bat and put it in "the paper of record". that is by no means guaranteed no matter how many shows you have had.

it is great to see Steven getting the recognition he deserves.

Much love to my old friends,

Lisa Ruyter
- Lisa Ruyter (guest) 8-06-2008 4:58 pm [add a comment]


thanks for relating those points Lisa. great hearing from you on the subject. sad matter for J&R to be the internet go to sources on SP. if blair gets back in touch, ill send him your way. every one ive spoken to so far would be glad to add to the record, so i hope i do hear from him as noted above since i dont have his email address. thanks again.
- bill 8-07-2008 2:48 pm [add a comment]





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