Con Artist


World Premiere

USA | 80 MINUTES | English, Italian |



From the beginning, Mark Kostabi pronounced his raison d'être as an artist widely: to take all the cash and all the glory. A superstar during the frantic glory of the 1980s New York art world, Kostabi has unapologetically signed and sold thousands of paintings made by painters/laborers who attest to not having seen Kostabi paint for years. His practice reveals a shrewd critique of valuation in the modern art world, but when his purposeful skewering turned to ruthlessly biting the hands that fed him, he was rapidly jolted from the position of daring darling to the unspeakable persona non grata.

This energetic, punk-fueled docu-comedy traces the meteoric rise and fall of a bizarre visionary and the art market that birthed him, but director Michael Sládek focuses mostly on present-day Kostabi and his obsession with getting back on top. Interviews with art world figures and vintage clips of Kostabi's outlandish television appearances are entertaining and insightful, but Con Artist's best moments come in the abundant tag-along footage Sládek shoots with the artist. While getting as close as one can to a man who's been called "the black hole of irony," Sládek also begs an interrogation into what American culture is based on, and what it takes to pop its bubble.


Directed by Michael Sládek

Michael Sládek helms Brooklyn-based Plug Ugly Films. Con Artist is his second feature following the 2004 award-winning dark comedy Devils Are Dreaming. His 2007 music video The Willowz: We Live On Your Street won a jury award at the Slamdance Film Festival. He has also directed, produced, shot, and edited Web series, music videos, and industrial films. Sládek currently serves as New York consultant for SAGIndie and has worked as a freelance producer/coordinator for MTV News and the Clinton Global Initiative. He has also acted for many years in films and professional theater.
Executive Producer
Gill Holland
Director of Photography
Michael Sládek
Michael Sládek
Jacob Bricca, Michael Sládek
Michael Sládek
Perry Grebin, Denis Jensen, Michael Nigro
Primary Cast
Mark Kostabi


Technical Contact
Mark Steele
Tribeca Film Festival
375 Greenwich Street New York, NY 10013
Phone: 212 941 2097
Press Contact
Sarah Garvey
745 Eastern Parkway Brooklyn, NY 11213
Phone: 315 521 7018
Print Source
Denis Jensen
Acme Pictures
236 West 30th Street, 6th Floor New York, NY 10001
Phone: 212 755 2263