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Mark Jenkins (artist)


Mark Jenkins (artist)

Mark Jenkins
Mark Jenkins' Embed sculpture.
Born October 7, 1970
Alexandria, VA
Nationality American
Known for Public art, installation art, street art, sculpture
Website .commarkjenkins

Mark Jenkins (born 1970) is an American artist most widely known for his 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 1
  • Teaching and philosophy 2
  • Bibliography 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


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 passersby to make calls to 911 which caused police and sometimes rescue units to arrive on his "stage".[13][14] It is also during this time Jenkins gained worldwide media attention for his work.[15]

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.[16][17][18]

Jenkins has participated in numerous public art events including 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

  • Mark Jenkins' website
  • Mark Jenkins' tape sculpture tutorial
  • Mark Jenkins: Tic Tac Toe (Positive-Propaganda Projects in Munich, 2013)
  • Mark Jenkins: Holding Cell (Ruttkowski;68 video, 2012)
  • Mark Jenkins: Go Figure! (Gestalten video, 2011)
  • Tape Man (Discovery Channel film, 2008)
  • Reuters video feature (2006)
  • Orange Houses and Tape Babies: Temporary and Nebulous Art in Urban Spaces (academic essay)

External links

  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. ^ Reuters Reuters, 2006
  16. ^ As Arctic Sea Ice reaches 2008 low, Street Art project highlights shared fate of polar bears, humanity Greenpeace USA, September 18, 2008
  17. ^ Homeless Polar Bears Ask for Change The Huffington Post, September 17, 2008
  18. ^ Mark Jenkins homeless polar bear prank BoingBoing, September 30, 2008
  19. ^ Kevin Spacey Stages Secret Show in ‘Tunnel 228′ Animal New York, May 28, 2010
  20. ^ Installation Artist Mark Jenkins Begins New Collaboration In Berlin National Public Radio (NPR), June 20, 2011
  21. ^ Banksy Bethlehem: a sudden, provocative comeback The Guardian UK, December 3, 2001
  22. ^ Mark Jenkins and Miho Kinomura: Glazed Paradise The Japan Times, June 19, 2008
  23. ^ How Babies Are Made (instructional video)
  24. ^ StreetArt in Moscow by Mark Jenkins (video feature), June 20, 2011
  25. ^ Artists have it taped in Letchworth The Advertiser Group, June 30, 2010
  26. ^ Rochdale student's sticky-tape sculptures to go on show BBC, January 5, 2012
  27. ^ Art Project: Mark Jenkins (video documentary)
  28. ^ Art students explore Mark Jenkins (video documentary)
  29. ^ Tape! (video documentary)
  30. ^ 4-H Public Presentation - Demonstration, Amanda Burns (video documentary)
  31. ^ Let No Man Scare You The Morning News, March 30, 2006
  32. ^ Artist Interviews: Reflecting on the Street Art sessions | Part 2 - Mark Jenkins Fine Art Views, June 2011
  33. ^ Mark Jenkins Lecture Part 2 World News, Feb 27, 2012


  • Trespass: A History Of Uncommissioned Urban Art (2011) ISBN 3836509644
  • Walls & Frames: Fine Art from the Streets (2011) ISBN 3899553764
  • Art & Agenda: Political Art and Activism (2011) ISBN 389955342X
  • Street Art Cookbook: A Guide to Techniques and Materials (2011) ISBN 918563946X
  • The Art of Rebellion #3 (2010) ISBN 3939566292
  • Beyond the Street: The 100 Leading Figures in Urban Art (2010) ISBN 3899552903
  • Urban Interventions: Personal Projects in Public Places (2010) ISBN 3899552911
  • Modart No. 01: Forget Art: In Order to Feel It (2010) ISBN 1584233745
  • Untitled II. The Beautiful Renaissance: Street Art and Graffiti (2009) ISBN 0955912121
  • Street Art: The Graffiti Revolution (2008) ISBN 0810983206
  • Outsiders: Art by People (2008) ISBN 1846055466
  • Street World: Urban Art and Culture from Five Continents (2007) ISBN 0810994380
  • Tactile: High Touch Visuals (2007) ISBN 3939566292
  • Hidden Track: How Visual Culture Is Going Places (2007) ISBN 3899550846

Other books featuring Jenkins' work:

  • The Urban Theater: Mark Jenkins (2012) ISBN 3899553969



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.[33] 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).

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."[32]

Winner Takes All

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."[31]

Under the Rainbow

Teaching is an important part of Jenkins' practice as an artist. Initially through his website he sought to popularize his casting method including the YouTube video, "How Babies Are Made".[23] Later he began holding workshops as a compoment of his installation projects in other cities. In 2009 he began extended masterclasses in Eastern Europe including Tashkent, Moscow, Perm and Baku.[24] Many student projects can be found online.[25][26][27][28][29][30]

Teaching and philosophy

at Lazarides Gallery (London, 2015),. Moment of Impact at Ruttkowski;68 Gallery (Cologne, 2014) and Terrible Horrible at Carmichael Gallery (Los Angeles, 2009), Meaning is Overrated [22] at Diesel Gallery (Tokyo, 2008),Glazed Paradise (Vienna, 2010). Solo shows include Kunsthalle Wien at Street and Studio (Beirut, 2012) and Beirut Art Center at the White Walls at Sangsangmadang Gallery (Seoul, 2009), Pinic In the City at PERMM Museum (Perm, 2012), Anonymous The Underbelly Project (NYC, 2011), [21]

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