Tom Warren, “Portrait Studio: COLAB Artists, 1981–84,” digital print, 2016

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16″ x 20″. Signed.

Tom Warren’s 1981 “portrait studio” at ABC No Rio, an interactive exhibition, provided professional-quality portraits to local residents at a negligible price. The resulting images functioned both as personal mementos for the subjects and as components in a cumulative portrait of the community.

Warren made very few prints from the negatives he kept. Recognizing their historical value, he recently returned to the negatives to create two photo-composites, “Portrait Studio: No Rio Locals” and “Portrait Studio: COLAB Artists.” Each of the digital prints has been signed by Warren.

Warren was a member of the artists group Collaborative Projects, Inc. (COLAB), many of whose members were involved with ABC No Rio in the Lower East Side and Fashion Moda in the South Bronx (where Warren set up a subsequent portrait studio in 1982). It’s no surprise that many of these artists took advantage of Warren’s services. Warren first isolated the portraits of COLAB artists for a COLAB exhibition in Europe.


Top row, left to right: Julie Harrison; Mitch Corber; Teri Slotkin; Wolfgang Staehle.

Second row: Alan W. Moore; Seton Smith; Bobby G; Jane Dickson.

Third row: Joseph Nechvatal; Christof Kolhofer; John D. Morton; Robin Winters.

Bottom row: Jolie Stahl, Becky Howland & Christy Rupp; Dick Miller; Walter Robinson; Tom Otterness.


Signature on verso

Alan W Moore Becky Howland Collaborative Projects Inc (COLAB) Tom Warren


Collecting COLAB: Ephemera, Photography & Multiples, 1978–1985

COLAB’s ever-changing nexus of thirty to sixty artists included many who later achieved individual fame, but the group’s real contribution was the philosophy of creative engagement it advanced through collective, do-it-yourself actions.