Mark Jenkins (artist)

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Mark Jenkins
Embed1.jpg
Mark Jenkins' Embed sculpture.
Born October 7, 1970
Alexandria, VA
Nationality American
Known for Public art, installation art, street art, sculpture
Website www.markjenkins.com

Mark Jenkins (born 1970) is an American artist who makes sculptural street installations. Jenkins' practice of street art is to use the "street as a stage" where his sculptures interact with the surrounding environment including passersby who unknowingly become actors.[1] His installations often draw the attention of the police.[2][3][4] His work has been described as whimsical, macabre, shocking and situationist.[5][6] Jenkins cites Juan Muñoz as his initial inspiration.[7][8]

In addition to creating art, he also teaches his sculpture techniques and installation practices through workshops. He currently lives in Washington, DC.

History[edit]

Storker Project

Jenkins was born in Alexandria, Virginia, but first began experimenting with tape as a casting medium for creating sculpture in 2003 while living in Rio de Janeiro. Wrapping the tape in reverse and then resealing it, he was able to make casts of objects including himself. One of his first street projects was a series of clear tape self casts that he installed on the streets of Rio de Janeiro. Jenkins became immediately interested in the reactions of the people and considered his installation as much a social experiment as an art project.[9]

Tape Giraffe

In 2004 he moved back to Washington DC and in 2005 he began working with Sandra Fernandez on the Storker Project, a series in which clear casts of toy babies are installed in different cities to interact with their surrounding environment.[10] Jenkins and Fernandez continued to create other installations using tape animals--dogs playing in litter, giraffes nibbling plastic bags from trees, and ducks swimming in gutters. Other outdoor projects which explore culture jamming include Meterpops, Traffic-Go-Round, and Signs of Spring.[11][12]

In 2006 Jenkins began the Embed Series. The tape casts were filled with newspaper and cement and dressed to create hyper realistic sculptural duplicates of himself and Fernandez. These new lifelike sculpture installations created confusion causing some passers-by to make calls to 911 which caused police and sometimes rescue units to arrive on his "stage".[13][14]

Signs of Spring

In 2008 Jenkins collaborated with Greenpeace on an awareness campaign, Plight of the Polar Bears, to draw attention to the melting Arctic ice caps. Jenkins created realistic figures appearing to be homeless people but with plush polar bear heads. The installations resulted in bomb squads being deployed to destroy the works subsequently creating controversy over the regulation of public space in the post 9/11 era.[15][16][17]

Jenkins has participated in public art events Interferencia (Barcelona, 2008), BELEF (Belgrade, 2009), Dublin Contemporary 2011, Inside Out (Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, Winston-Salem, 2009),Living Layers (Rome, 2012) and Les Vraisemblables (Nuit Blanche, Paris, 2014).

Indoors Jenkins has exhibited internationally in galleries and museums as well as continuing his Embed Series in public settings such as cafeterias, schools and building lobbies. He was part of Kevin Spacey's Tunnel 228 project in London.[18] In 2011 he made installations for a theatrical piece Is Maybe at the Hebbel am Ufer in Berlin.[19] Group exhibits include: New Blood curated by Morgan Spurlock at Thinkspace Gallery (Los Angeles, 2012), POW's Santa's Ghetto (Bethlehem, 2007),[20] The Underbelly Project (NYC, 2011), Anonymous at PERMM Museum (Perm, 2012), Pinic In the City at Sangsangmadang Gallery (Seoul, 2009), White Walls at the Beirut Art Center (Beirut, 2012) and Street and Studio at Kunsthalle Wien (Vienna, 2010). Solo shows include Glazed Paradise at Diesel Gallery (Tokyo, 2008),[21] Meaning is Overrated at Carmichael Gallery (Los Angeles, 2009), Terrible Horrible at Ruttkowski;68 Gallery (Cologne, 2014), Moment of Impact at Lazarides Gallery (London, 2015)[22], and Remix at L'Arsenal (Montreal, 2016).

Teaching and philosophy[edit]

Jenkins also teaches, initially through his website and YouTube. Later he held workshops in various countries and cities.

Under the Rainbow

Jenkins said the following about the illegal aspects of street art during an interview with Pitchaya Sudbanthad in 2005, "I think my point is that visual outliers are what’s needed to keep the environment stimulating, but unfortunately the only visual content that’s updated with any real frequency are commercial advertising spaces. This is why the ephemeral nature of street art is so essential—because it creates a visual heartbeat in the city by people who are living in it, rather than just marketing to it. But what does the city do with these works? They remove them as quickly as possible and threaten to put the people who make them in jail."[23]

Winner Takes All

In a later interview with Brian Sherwin in 2009 he said, "There is opposition, and risk, but I think that just shows that street art is the sort of frontier where the leading edge really does have to chew through the ice. And it's good for people to remember public space is a battleground, with the government, advertisers and artists all mixing and mashing, and even now the strange cross-pollination taking place as street artists sometimes become brands, and brands camouflaging as street art creating complex hybrids or impersonators. I think it's understanding the strangeness of the playing field where you'll realize that painting street artists, writers, as the bad guys is a shallow view. As for the old bronzes, I really don't see them as part of what's going on in the dialogue unless addressed by a new intervention."[24]

Jenkins gives a lecture presentation titled The Human City that compares humans to blood cells and streets and veins to arteries and sidewalks. He sees street art as a nutritious element rather than a virus.[25] He's presented at the Droog Event 2: Urban Play (Amsterdam), Pictoplasma conferences (Berlin, NYC), Eyebeam Art and Technology Center (NYC), University of Michigan, and Hongik University (Seoul).

Publications[edit]

Publication by Jenkins[edit]

Publications with contributions by Jenkins[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Surreal Art of an Urban Prankster The Huffington Post, April 16, 2012
  2. ^ Testing the Limits: Artist's project misunderstood right off the bat, but it drew attention to art Winston-Salem Journal, October 11, 2009
  3. ^ Police remove another piece of artist's work Winston-Salem Journal, October 15, 2009
  4. ^ Artist's mannequin awaits permission to startle people Winston-Salem Journal, November 3, 2009
  5. ^ Urban Theater mb!, April 17, 2012
  6. ^ Don't call 911! The terrifying life-like sculptures bringing panic to the streets The Daily Mail, Feb 2, 2012
  7. ^ Let No Man Scare You The Morning News, March 30, 2006
  8. ^ The Surreal Art of an Urban Prankster The Huffington Post, April 16, 2012
  9. ^ Let No Man Scare You The Morning News, March 30, 2006
  10. ^ Let No Man Scare You The Morning News, March 30, 2006
  11. ^ Mark Jenkins's Traffic-Go-Round BoingBoing, March 14, 2006
  12. ^ Signs of Spring Laughing Squid, March 31, 2008
  13. ^ That's Mark Jenkins All Over The Washington Post, July 23, 2006
  14. ^ A Minute With: Street artist Mark Jenkins Reuters, February 1, 2012
  15. ^ As Arctic Sea Ice reaches 2008 low, Street Art project highlights shared fate of polar bears, humanity Greenpeace USA, September 18, 2008
  16. ^ Homeless Polar Bears Ask for Change The Huffington Post, September 17, 2008
  17. ^ Mark Jenkins homeless polar bear prank BoingBoing, September 30, 2008
  18. ^ Kevin Spacey Stages Secret Show in ‘Tunnel 228′ Animal New York, May 28, 2010
  19. ^ Installation Artist Mark Jenkins Begins New Collaboration In Berlin National Public Radio (NPR), June 20, 2011
  20. ^ Banksy Bethlehem: a sudden, provocative comeback The Guardian UK, December 3, 2001
  21. ^ Mark Jenkins and Miho Kinomura: Glazed Paradise The Japan Times, June 19, 2008
  22. ^ "Lazinc – Mark Jenkins - Moment of Impact". Retrieved 19 July 2017. 
  23. ^ Let No Man Scare You The Morning News, March 30, 2006
  24. ^ Artist Interviews: Reflecting on the Street Art sessions | Part 2 - Mark Jenkins Fine Art Views, June 2011
  25. ^ Mark Jenkins Lecture Part 2 World News, Feb 27, 2012

External links[edit]