Marcus Civin

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Populating great boulevards and guarding doorways to draconian, bureaucratic buildings, plaza baubles and pigeon perches, ubiquitous and unavoidable, monuments make up Washington, DC. This capital’s become a concentrated, interlocking display of triumph and trauma, mammoth legacy down the street from mammoth legacy, histories weighty and impossible to re-conceive. There are grassy parks for freedom fighters. There are mourning stones carved with names, and names, and names.   There, a... [more]
I am trying to organize my thoughts on Carolee Schneemann. It is its own performance rehearsal, this pacing around the apartment, trying to organize my thoughts. A recent exhibition provoked me at the Slought Foundation, Archives. If I had just a little more money, I would set up for myself, near home, a screening of works by Schneemann—the lion’s share of the works by the artist exhibited at Slought. For my screening, on four walls, I would project two that are cat-themed: Mysteries of... [more]
Let me take you on a beach trip. I have a reading list for you, a bunch of books that together make for one really epic beach trip. I’m taking you to the Hamptons, not just any beach. For artists in the US, there’s Provincetown, various surfing nooks and crannies, and there’s the mythic, paint-splattered Hamptons. In their book, Hamptons Bohemia: Two Centuries of Artists and Writers on the Beach, Helen Harrison and Constance Denne briefly recall “Artists and Writers Softball,” an annual... [more]
Craft Services   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
at Philadelphia Museum of Art May 5th, 2012 - August 12th, 2012
Posted 6/26/12
I dreamed about columns. As if pulled from the sea, solid pillars seemed to hover, a totem from some fantastic marshy planet. It had been a week since I’d wandered through , curated by Elisabeth Agro at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and Howard Ben Tré’s columnular Structure 23, 1984, was not the only work to haunt me; many works in the museum begged to be touched, handled, felt. Craft like this, made by hands, begs for hands. In the museum, I was glowering on the floor,... [more]
Becky Koblick Where do you work? Why? I am currently an assistant director for MOTINTERNATIONAL, a commercial gallery in London’s East End. I started as a curatorial intern in my first semester of graduate school and will now become the associate director of our new location opening in Brussels this September. I work in a commercial gallery because I think that it affords the opportunity to build long-term relationships with artists. I also believe, contrary to some popular suppositions,... [more]
Curator Corral   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Posted 9/14/11
I am an artist and in terms of my own activities in the realm of curating, I think of myself as an organizer, one who extends invitations. And I think of myself as an instigator; I want to build decent, clean platforms to see work made by artists I admire. I have begun to ask curators how they think of themselves and what they want to accomplish. I am including here a sample of this research. I think the statements in and of themselves are beautiful. At this point, though, I have even more... [more]
Becky Koblick Where do you work? Why? I am currently an assistant director for MOTINTERNATIONAL, a commercial gallery in London’s East End. I started as a curatorial intern in my first semester of graduate school and will now become the associate director of our new location opening in Brussels this September. I work in a commercial gallery because I think that it affords the opportunity to build long-term relationships with artists. I also believe, contrary to some popular suppositions, that... [more]
To Akilah Oliver (1961-2011) I know a poet who had to re-enforce the floor under their bookshelf. If I had to say farewell to my box of hand-made books, I’d also have to say goodbye to bookshelves. And, goodbye to e-mails. I’m not talking about announcements or “sublet my apartment” e-mails. Goodbye to e-mails that make you cry. Some people are hard to see, even right in front of you. They’re not loud. They don’t send you a thousand reminders, but give you two small, paper folded books... [more]
Pylypchuk-ing   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Jonathan Pylypchuk at China Art Objects Galleries February 19th, 2011 - March 26th, 2011
Posted 3/7/11
1 Jonathan Pylypchuk’s current solo show at China Art Objects, In the Absence of Human Bastards, is an adroit, funky, pissed off, “Fuck You and Fuck Me Too.” Pylypchuk’s title, In the Absence of Human Bastards, suggests a state of being far away from human bastards. This could possibly get a little philosophically/semantically tricky. Perhaps an animal or alien speaks the title, judging all humans bastards, or perhaps a human speaks but not a human bastard. The title could also suggest a... [more]
I want you to touch in museums.  Ok now, don’t piss off the museum guards. Be polite. Say “Hello” and “Thank You” to these diligent watchers, these hourly protectors of art, but still don’t let them see you touching. Do not get caught.When touching paintings and sculptures in museums, it should be more of a quick grazing, a light touch, a dance of your fingers. Move past, touching. Hand held low, don’t stop to touch. You are walking—don’t rush, keep a regular pace—look seriously, look... [more]
Some Objects Drawn in Space/Some Sculptors Thinking   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Hans Arp, Emil Cimiott, Andreas Feininger, Naum Gabo, Julio Gonzalez, Ibram Lassaw, Henry Moore, Louise Nevelson, Antoine Pevsner, David Smith at The Baltimore Museum of Art July 21st, 2010 - February 20th, 2011
Posted 1/31/11
A quiet exhibition, “Advancing Abstraction” at the Baltimore Museum of Art handily fills two, small galleries at the back with about twenty tabletop-to-medium-sized sculptures alongside a few related prints and sketches. Machine-age works in iron, copper, bronze, metal, steel, and wood from the museum’s collection divulge bit balletics, forest flute trills: Naum Gabo lovingly rubs a Plexiglas curve that frames an oval alabaster and intricately wraps steel spring wire; Ibram Lassaw torch-drips... [more]
Introduction: Formative Bodies, Hearing From Dino Dinco Reports Dino Dinco on the website, “[I am] embarking on a year-long post as Performance Curator in Residence at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE)... As a teenager, LACE is where I first experienced the work of Raymond Pettibon, Tom of Finland, and Nina Hagen who performed on the patio of their former downtown location.” Further, in a curatorial statement, Dinco writes: “In mid-‘80s Los Angeles, Ron Athey, Luis... [more]
After Visiting the Lynda Benglis Traveling Retrospective   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Lynda Benglis at RISD Museum October 1st, 2010 - January 9th, 2011
Posted 12/20/10
        See a room of pinched torsos on the wall (children’s torsos), deer forelegs, and stringy human forearms crossed, ornamented with Day-Glo brushstrokes and glitter... Now look at dissident fish hung up, gilded, called Siren, Minos, Knossos. Feel engulfed. , 1996, is a splayed silicone bronze sculptural brocade, like eight hard wigs.Lynda Benglis’ particular post-minimalism favors bright colors, metals, and the apparent freezing of irregular, billowy eruptions. Benglis’ abstract... [more]
Suspended Objecthood   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Maya Lujan at Jancar Gallery November 20th, 2010 - December 18th, 2010
Posted 12/6/10
In his now oft-quoted essay, “Art and Objecthood,” published in Artforum, June, 1967, Michael Fried terms “literalist” what we now refer to as Minimalist. Fried advocates inscrutable art that defeats or at least suspends its own objecthood. Fried allies himself with Jules Olitski’s elusive sprays, Tony Smith’s thrusting overwhelm and Anthony Caro’s cantilevered wholly abstracted planes, but feels deeply dismayed by Donald Judd and Robert Morris. As Fried outlines it, Judd and Morris... [more]
Art review: 'Supernatural' @ Jancar Gallery, by Christopher Knight  
David Askevold, John Baldessari, Andrea Bowers, Marcus Civin, Sarah Cromarty, Christian Cummings, Dorit Cypis, Elizabeth DiGiovanni, Nancy Evans, Doug Harvey, Micol Hebron, Dawn Kasper, Danielle McCullough, Katia Santibanez, Ilene Segalove, Tyler Stallings, Margo Victor, Rowan Wood at Jancar Gallery August 6th, 2010 - August 31st, 2010
Posted 9/24/10
Art review: 'Supernatural' @ Jancar Gallery August 20, 2010 |  6:30 am The supernatural was a linchpin for art in every culture since time immemorial – at least until the science-infused modern era said, “Hold on.” The inflation of nature into something super, whether volcanoes as terrible pathways linking the underworld to the heavens, resurrection as a triumph over death or constellations as symbols of heroes and deities, typically served as a... [more]
                My father suggested in lieu of being a broke artist that I write stories to make some money. Young adult fiction? I stalled, talking about the pictures I would want to make, exaggerating about the over-arduousness of scanning drawings, the well-known issues of image quality, the tyranny of paper stock. Well, no more stalling Dad. Here goes: By Marcus Civin Noah, wearing red deck shoes and tight green shorts, carrying a pink messenger bag will sneak through the white... [more]
Daumiere, Molière, and a Couple of Actors   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
at Hammer Museum January 1st, 2010 - December 31st, 2010
Posted 8/30/10
        In the awkwardly halcyon days of high school, I played in Molière’s most famous play, . I performed as Orgon, the credulous near-cuckold, a fool duped by the falsely religious Tartuffe, who loved his seemingly pious friend while the clever fiend wrecked his family and stole his fortune, realizing almost too late his villainy. When Tartuffe opens his mouth, Orgon opens his mouth in imitation.I still have a lot of sympathy for the fool—maybe a sympathy I developed in high school,... [more]
The Quiet Importance of (Perhaps Evanescent) Alternatives   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Skip Arnold, Math Bass, Emily Mast / Jerome Bel, Ellen Birrell, Olivia Booth, Mariel Carranza, Marcus Civin, Ginny Cook, Dorit Cypis, Megan Daalder, Alexis Disselkoen, Zackary Drucker, Liz Glynn and Corey Fogel, Douglas Green, Matt Greene, Daniel Lucas Guimaraes, Micol Hebron, Gustavo Herrera, Dan Hockenson, Marc Horowitz, ING, Farrah Karapetian, Joel Kyack, Morrisa Maltz, Sister Mantos, Wendy Mason, micha cardenas and elle mehrmand, Yong Soon Min, Lucas Murgida, Warren Neidich, Paul Pescador, Nancy Popp, Andrew Printer, Jules Rochielle, Margie Schnibbe, Kim Schoen, Susan Silton, Alex Staiger, Vishal Jugdeo / Aram Moshayedi / Matteo Tannat, Dorian Wood and Joseph Tepperman, Julie Tolentino, Jason Wallace Triefenbach, Jason Underhill, Brian Getnick and Kristian van der Heyden, Samuel Vasquez, Dee Williams, Fundación Wanna Winni, Team Zatara at Human Resources July 29th, 2010 - August 1st, 2010
Posted 8/16/10
        Late into the night, after the first flush of events of a long weekend of performances in Chinatown for the annual Perform Now! festival, a small crowd lounged on the back patio of Human Resources, sipping the cool, fruity dregs of a welcomed sangria. Two musicians, Emily Lacy and an accompanying violist, Ezra Buchla (formerly of 'Gowns' and 'The Mae Shi') warmed up for a final set to the spare audience. Leaning back to hear the creak of the metal of my folding chair, I sat with my... [more]
Event Score for Hinges   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Sandy de Lissovoy, David Kelley at Las Cienegas Projects June 5th, 2010 - July 3rd, 2010
Posted 6/21/10
      Inside Las Cienegas Projects in LA, an hour loop of video seems to move around the gallery. The video shows various actors manipulating sculptures, some of which (or close cousins of which) are gracefully spot lit and catching bits of the action. Playing on objects’ surfaces, histories of the objects or histories of similar objects. A dancer teaches a phrase, the student has to pull his recalcitrant leg to get in the teacher’s position. Confidently nudged through the space by... [more]
Introduction to Felipe Ehrenberg   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Kat Cutridge, Felipe Ehrenberg, Lani Harmony, Dalia Monserat, Richard Wearn at Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA) May 23rd, 2010 - August 15th, 2010
Posted 6/21/10
              It helps me to look at the major work groups in Ehrenberg’s oeuvre as sections of a biographical film.   A sketch for my Felipe Ehrenberg biopic, Part 1: The young, hard-working fine art and design student—apprentice printer, muralist, sculptor, able draughtsman—publishes drawings in a poetry magazine.   Part 2, black and white archival footage: 1968, Co-founder of Salon Independiente, a group of artists organizing in response to the repressive, censorial Mexican... [more]
                My right eye at rest stays open wider than my left one, my right eyebrow runs less close to my right ear and less close to the right side of the bridge of my nose than my left eyebrow. The top eighth of my ears point out more than a quarter of an inch away from my head at the top, though I can press my phone pretty hard against my ears against head: “What time does it end? Should I meet you there, at the gallery or pick you up... maybe there isn’t time to pick you up.”... [more]
Joan Jonas is a Magic of Heights   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Joan Jonas at Rosamund Felsen Gallery April 24th, 2010 - May 29th, 2010
Posted 5/17/10
        Joan Jonas is a magic of heights: immediate, equally alive and inspiring. She has earned the rank of art visionary, from her studies with Yvonne Rainer and Trisha Brown at Judson Church, to her mirror pieces and outdoor performance earthworks as significant as Serra's and Smithson's, to acclaimed experimentations with one of the first video portapaks, up to the present. Jonas has written, built, inhabited, and is still tweaking, in accumulations of fascinating fragments, a model for... [more]
Houston Love Story   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Posted 5/10/10
I live in Los Angeles, but with various new friends and co-conspirators, I have been enjoying a long distance love affair with Houston, Texas. It started last year, 2009, my friend, Joey Morris was preparing an exhibition of photographs, , curated by Andres Janacua and Julie Spielman as part of their roving gallery project, Galeria Perdida, which landed last year at Project Row Houses, in Houston’s Third Ward. I had made some extra cash bartending a few Fox Television gigs on the Santa... [more]
Nine Lives   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Maurizio Cattelan at The Menil Collection February 12th, 2010 - August 15th, 2010
Posted 5/10/10
        Dear Maurizio, Your first solo show in the United States since 2003 and my first face-to-face encounter with a large body of your work... you and curator Franklin Sirmans situated your sculptures among works that you admire in The Menil Collection. I was really excited to see it! On my day off from installing my show, I skipped breakfast and rushed over to see yours. I just got back to Los Angeles from Texas and I have a few reflective questions for you. In the small... [more]
On Trophies   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Posted 5/3/10
    My sculpture. Every morning, my son, inconstant the rest of the day—he is too old, living with me. Every morning, my son attaches a piece of fruit to my sculpture, my Rifle Association Match Trophy, the Winchester Plainsman Trophy I won, damn it all, I won my trophy, my sculpture, a mantle piece bronze buckskin cowboy, his horse rearing up to three legs, resting gun in the crook of his left arm, left hand holding the reins while right arm points to the mountains. The bronze horse... [more]
Stone Sculpture   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Posted 3/29/10
          I shut my eyes. Ears underwater and the tub still filling, I would loose my head and turn the pounding water into The Bombing of Britain that my father—my father, I mean my history teacher—narrated that day at school. Or battles between kings, knights and kings, and two cowboys laughing, shooting at an older cowboy’s feet.When I was eight years old, in 1968, my father told me I was a king; my mother agreed. I remember the morning. It was sunny after two weeks of on and off... [more]
Whiteread at the Hammer   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Rachel Whiteread at Hammer Museum January 31st, 2010 - April 25th, 2010
Posted 3/29/10
        British-artist Rachel Whiteread’s postmodernism is deadpan realism, a return to a classical sculpture technique—casting—casting, not things, but the space under things, a contemplation of forgotten space around, under, and inside. In forming, naming, and repeating these blocky underneath spaces, setting nothingness in plaster and resin, Whiteread re-organizes our experience so that the space around a bathtub for example, appears, while the bathtub itself disappears. The space around... [more]
Glass Houses   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
James Welling at Regen Projects (West Hollywood) January 30th, 2010 - March 6th, 2010
Posted 2/22/10
  “For, facing a world that is unintelligible and enigmatic, our task is clear: we must make that world even more unintelligible, even more enigmatic.” – Jean Beaudrillard, The Vital Illusion, 2000 This may sound a bit earnest, but bear with me: you must go see James Welling Glass House at Regen Projects. Of the twenty photographs, you will have your favorites. Mine is 0462. ... 0462, an inkjet print, 40 3/4 x 57 1/4 inches, from 2009, this picture (titled after its number in the... [more]
    My sculpture. Every morning, my son, inconstant the rest of the day—he is too old, living with me. Every morning, my son attaches a piece of fruit to my sculpture, my Rifle Association Match Trophy, the Winchester Plainsman Trophy I won, damn it all, I won my trophy, my sculpture, a mantle piece bronze buckskin cowboy, his horse rearing up to three legs, resting gun in the crook of his left arm, left hand holding the reins while right arm points to the mountains. The bronze horse... [more]
I like to see which corner stores get custom neon signage and which order LED’s. There ought to be more lit up signs (solar powered, of course); there cannot be enough. By internet order, anyone can edge their storefront windows with neon using the money earned from ten haircuts, or hook up some neon tube window diagonals with the money saved from knocking off a few less beers for four to five months. Los Angeles could do more; the city could be a fully constructed light exhibition, not Times... [more]