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A man of many talents, Mark Kostabi is best known for his paintings of faceless mannequin-like figures. He always depicts the subjects as faceless; He believes this ambiguous quality bestows a universal language into his work that is free of racial limitations and gives an unbiased reflection of society’s fear of individuality.
“The Heart that Rules the Head” is a depiction of a couple that appears to be in a proverbial crossroad. A faceless woman is crying while sitting on the steps of her front door, and a faceless man is holding his brain next to his heart, and the viewer is left unsure if the character is ruled by the heart or by the brain. The title suggests that the character is ruled by the heart, but the painting suggests that he is ruled by the brain. “The Heart that Rules the Head” is a 23.75 x 18 – inch oil on canvas and was created between 2010 – 2014.
Artist and composer Mark Kostabi was born in Los Angeles, in 1960 to an Estonian immigrant family. He studied traditional mediums, such as drawing and painting, at California State University in Fullerton. In 1982, he moved to New York City and by 1984 became a leading figure of the East Village art scene, which included artists such as Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, Basquiat, and others. Throughout his art career, he has cultivated a provocative media persona by publishing self-interviews. In 1988, he founded Kostabi World – a large New York studio known for openly employing numerous painting assistants and ‘idea people’ to produce artwork. Today, Mark Kostabi’s work is displayed in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) the Guggenheim Musem, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Groninger Museum in Holland. The Mitsukoshi Museum in Tokyo has held a 100 painting retrospective of his work, and he has had over 500 gallery exhibitions worldwide. Kostabi has appeared on every major network talk show since the 1980s, including Oprah. He has also worked on album covers for musical icons the Guns N’Roses and Ramones.