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 born 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 K11 Musea, Hong Kong (2019); The Power Station, Dallas (2017); Peep-Hole, Milan (2015); and Public Fiction, Los Angeles (2014). Recent group exhibitions include New Works in the Collection – From Abramovic to Warhol, Louisiana Museum of Art, Humlebæk, Denmark (2021–2022); Just Connect, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (2020); Whitney Biennial 2019, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; The Trick Brain, Aïshti Foundation, Beirut (2017); and High Anxiety: New Acquisitions, Rubell Family Collection, Miami (2016), among others. His work is in the permanent collections of the Astrup Fearnley Museet, Oslo, Norway; Musée d'Art Moderne 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, New York. Marcus lives and works in Los Angeles.