While the work of Calvin Marcus (b. 1988, San Francisco) is not concerned in any overt way with his own biography, he is interested in artistic persona as it takes shape through carefully directed formal decisions and conceptual structures. The mixed-media paintings, sculptures, and drawings that result are notable for their iconic forms (dead soldiers, stylized self-portraits with devilish tongues, ceramic fish), meticulous attention to craft, and surreal humor, evincing a playfulness borne from variance among serial forms. Marcus draws attention to the pillars that support artistic endeavor as a whole, as well as the basic questions that often go unanswered when any artist chooses to display their output in a public setting. This has led him to produce works that also address the physical and institutional envelopes in which art is experienced.
Calvin Marcus has been the subject of solo exhibitions at The Power Station, Dallas (2017); Peep-Hole, Milan (2015); and Public Fiction, Los Angeles (2014). He has been included in The Trick Brain, Aïshti Foundation, Beirut, Lebanon (2017); Inaugural exhibition, Syz Collection, Banque Syz, Geneva (2017); and High Anxiety: New Acquisitions, Rubell Family Collection, Miami (2016), among other group exhibitions. His work was featured in the 2019 Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, and is part of the permanent of collections of the Astrup Fearnley Museet, Oslo; Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris; K11 Art Foundation, Hong Kong; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and Whitney Museum of American Art. Marcus lives and works in Los Angeles.