Active from 1988 – 1999, TABOO, an Atlanta based artist collective aspired to provoke and generate dialogue about subjects considered “Taboo” in the politically correct and respectful populace of the time, through humorous, sardonic, and quite often outrageous exhibitions and projects. Please enjoy exploring the online collections through the links in the biography below.
The core group comprised four gay, male artists Larry Jens Anderson (b. 1947-2021), Michael Venezia (1954 – 2000), King Thackston (1948-2004), and David Fraley (1952 – 1999). The exhibitions were primarily funded by the sale of t-shirts designed by the artists.
The first exhibition, entitled “TABOO,” 1988, was originally conceived through an informal discourse of artists about the safe and insular Atlanta art scene. To help engender a satisfactory response, the exhibition took place on Good Friday which also happened to be April fool’s Day, and a fetish pole was featured, on which visitors were encouraged to hang a “taboo” fetish object.
Johnny Detroit’s Brunch, 1989-1990 was an exhibition parodying Judy Chicago’s Dinner Party, followed by The Cross Show, which opened Good Friday 13th, 1990 and the XMas Exhibition, 1991. TABOO joined the Atlanta Arts Festival in 1992 and designed a pavilion to contain their exhibition Angry Love. The 1994 Arts Festival Best in Show installation was followed by the High Museum Bowling challenge, and the Confessions exhibition, 1995, encouraged artists to “Cleanse your art psyche and tell us what has been secret too long.” Receiving high acclaim during the 1996 Olympics, Gone with the Wind: The Fabrication and Denial of Southern Identity, had a press kit which included white cotton gloves, and a document entitled “To Assist our Foreign & Yankee Visitors: A Glossary of Terms.” In 1998 Testosterone featured artworks depicting subject matter related to the masculine hormone, and finally, Requiem, (1999) marked the final project in which all four core members took part.
In 2005 and 2008, remaining TABOO member Larry Jens Anderson and the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia joined together to create two final memorial exhibitions entitled The Last Taboo (2005) and TABOO Remembered (2008).
Larry Jens Anderson generously donated all TABOO materials to MOCA GA.