Marcus Civin is an interdisciplinary artist, critic, and curator with a focus on community engagement, performance, sculpture, and drawing. In addition to exhibiting solo and collaborative work, he has published widely and has developed and organized exhibitions, festivals, and panel discussions. At Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), he teaches in Curatorial Practice, Art History, and Foundation. He will be Acting Director of Curatorial Practice at MICA for the 2014-2015 academic year. He is currently curating The Empathy Project at MICA, an interactive exhibition created by MICA's artist-in-residence Paul Rucker.
In MICA's new Curatorial Practice MFA, Civin works closely with students who are developing relevant, timely, and accessible exhibitions that connect art, artists, and communities. Civin designed the course Interdisciplinary Approaches to Curatorial Practice, which is open to all graduate students at MICA. In the first year of the course, the students hosted a panel discussion, Curating to Provoke: Dangerous Ideas, Dangerous Places, at Area 405 in Baltimore. In the second year of the course, the students created an exhibition, Mapping Curatorial Content, a collaboration with Director of the Graphic Design MFA, Ellen Lupton, and her students; the exhibition gave students the opportunity to visualize areas of mutual interest. This year, an exhibition, Imaginary Museum, will continue the Curatorial Practice/Graphic Design collaboration.
In the Department of Art History, Theory, and Criticism, Civin designed and taught the upper level course Artists as Writers and wrote a report on the required Foundation Art History course, Art Matters.
Born in Boston, Civin grew up in Baltimore where in high school and college he worked as an intern at Baltimore's Center Stage as a part of the audience development initiative Theater for a New Generation. Civin received a BA in Theater from Brown University in 1999 and, in 2009, an MFA in Art from University of California, Irvine, where he studied with Judson Dance Theater pioneer Yvonne Rainer.
Civin is a founder of New Urban Arts, a now 17-year-old non-profit community arts studio for high school students in Providence, Rhode Island, whose mission is to build a vital community that empowers young people as artists and leaders to develop a creative practice they can sustain throughout their lives. As the organization's first Program Director, Civin worked with community stakeholders to develop and implement an after school arts mentoring model and curate art exhibitions.
From 2009-2010, Civin was a co-organizer of Perform! Now!, a performance festival that took place inside and outside venues in Los Angeles' Chinatown. The festival created appropriate focus, time, context, and space for uninterrupted engagement with large audiences. In 2013, at The Kitchen in New York, he performed in Simon Leung's workers theater piece, Actions, which considered the role of the art worker and art actions that were directed at the Museum of Modern Art.
Marcus has worked with the collective Galleria Perdida, writing in response to their work, participating in their exhibition, Matryoshka, at Recess Art in New York, and curating their project: you dream of better things in Los Angeles. With Joshua Wade Smith, he created the performance Tripwire, which he and Smith performed at Delicious Spectacle in Washington, DC, and at The Supernova Performance Art Festival in Rosslyn, Virginia. He has participated in exhibitions in San Francisco at The Lab, in Houston at The Temporary Space, at Ruffin Gallery at University of Virginia, at Pitzer College Art Galleries in Claremont, at Am Nuden Da in London, and in Los Angeles at: Francois Ghebaly Gallery, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, Sea and Space Explorations, Betalevel, High Energy Constructs, and Jancar Gallery among others.
Civin has written for diverse formats including journals, newspapers, books, small press poetry publications, artist publications, and exhibition catalogs. His writing has appeared recently in Artslant, Aufgabe, Baltimore City Paper, The Courtland Review, The Capilano Review, Recaps Magazine, out of nothing, Kadar Koli, No Gender: Reflections on the Life and Work of kari edwards, and Print/Collect, a publication showcasing artists working in Baltimore. Speaking engagements have included lectures as a visiting artist at American University, Wellesley College, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, California Institute of the Arts, University of Houston, Brown University, Johns Hopkins University, and San Francisco Art Institute. He has taught as adjunct faculty at Towson University, George Washington University, and University of California, Irvine. Recently he moderated a panel discussion, Doing it Differently, at Evergreen Museum & Library in Baltimore to discuss critical issues surrounding labeling and accessibility.
Currently, Civin is an advisor for Institute of Contemporary Art Baltimore and edits an art criticism column, "Art Crit," for the online magazine What Weekly. He lives in the City Arts Building, artist housing in Baltimore's Station North Arts and Entertainment District. At Gallery CA in the City Arts Building, he is currently curating Baltimore One, a collection of unique objects loaned by City Arts residents.