The son of an inventor and a history teacher, Marcus Civin has lived and worked in Las Vegas, Baltimore, Providence, San Francisco, and Los Angles. He writes, teaches, curates, draws, makes objects, and performs.
Read a 2015 review that includes this description of an interactive sculpture Civin created for an exhibit called Action Kits at Boston Center for the Arts:
"Civin built sturdy wooden boxes on castors, with stovepipe caps. He invites you to take a glass — several are on shelves along the wall — and hurl it down the stovepipe. The glass breaks with an alarming clatter. There it is: The anticipation, the terror and exhilaration of the thunderclap, and the quiet that follows."
Read a 2016 interview with Civin and artist/curator Melissa Webb in Baltimore. Also in 2016, Raquel Gutiérrez wrote about Civin's work on Hyperallergic:
"Viewers are also treated to textually immersive wall works by poet and artist Marcus Civin, whose “Baltimore Call and Response” (2016) is the kind of exhortation that gets the blood boiling as it produces questions that pry open possibilities against aggressive accounting, for life under capitalism, impromptu performance, and long-term action... “Act Like Americans 2” (2016) dropkicks with a biting critical attention to the attenuated ways that debt continues to saturate our creative realities in the harsh belabored landscape..."
In 2014, Critic Taylor Deboer described Paul Rucker's The Empathy Project, curated by Civin:
"Paul Rucker, Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) Artist-in-Residence, stood in front of a computer in the MICA Studio Center with a MICA student in the background giving a massage. Surrounding Rucker, was the work of various artists of all ages and demographics who have tacked, nailed, constructed or splattered their work within the space of the studio center as part of Rucker’s project, The Empathy Project, curated by MICA professor and artist Marcus Civin. Rucker’s idea was to create an environment that would allow anyone to share their work – building on our understanding and appreciation of each other’s stories, ideas, circumstances and, of course, art.
'How do we get out of our own experiences and understand where others are coming from?' Rucker asked me on the phone last week. That question led to The Empathy Project.
What is the motivation for connecting with someone, for having empathy? For Rucker it’s a way to solve social justice issues – like the prison industrial complex or slavery, which are a focus of his art. 'We can solve these issues if we begin to understand each other’s circumstances,' said Rucker. 'It allows one to examine their own advantages and privileges.'"
Listen to Civin on public radio speaking about curating in 2015. Listen to Civin in his first appearance on a podcast, 2018.
In 2013, Critic Andrew Berardini wrote a brief biography of Civin for Susan Silton’s book and performance project, Who’s In a Name? Berardini wrote:
"Marcus Civin was born in an obscure library when an unusual series of books, plopped accidentally together, rubbed their spectral energy against one another to create the conditions to create life, in particular the unique and curious animal known as Marcus Civin. Exactly what books are not known but some of their subjects can be intuited through the curious actions and ideas of Civin: the films of D.W. Griffith, Upton Sinclair and the history of American labor, biographies of the soldiers who dropped the first nuclear bombs, Wilhelm Reich’s Orgone Accumulators, and the Member’s Guide to the National Rifle Association.
Afterwards, raised by American bison and trained by poets, Civin’s life begins to delve into the documentably verifiable, when he crops up at Brown University for a degree in theater in 1999 and again in 2009 for an MFA in Studio Art at University of California, Irvine. Civin ended up melding his life from books to poets to theater and studio art under the aegis of “artist,” through props and drawings, texts and photographs, sculptures and installation, performing the nature of humanity, which translates through Civin as a mixture of hope and violence, the clownish and the laborious, all of it ultimately beautifully and messily poetical. He is believed to still be at large."
Read an interview with Civin, by writer Saehee Cho, published online at Outward from Nothingness in 2013. Or, listen to a discussion Civin participated in about art criticism in Baltimore with Post-Office Arts Journal in 2015.
In 2010, critic Gordy Grundy described a performance, American Rifle, by Civin at Francois Ghebaly Gallery in Los Angeles. Grundy wrote in Artillery Magazine:
"At Francois Ghebaly, Marcus Civin shot off his American Rifle, a comic and tragic reminder that we humans have a hard time processing passion, sexual and otherwise. Civin illustrates the disparity between our Hollywood hopes of high-tech national security and the simple, homemade efforts of a terrorist with passion in his heart, an idea in his head and a bomb in his underpants. To the Motown upbeat of Your Love Keeps Lifting Me Higher And Higher, Civin brings down an airliner over Detroit and our fantasies of safety with it... [Civin has a] keen eye and a solid sensibility."
Read a discussion with Civin and educator Tyler Denmead, published in 2005 about the first year of New Urban Arts, a youth arts center in Providence, Rhode Island. Civin is one of the Founders of New Urban Arts, and served as the Program Director from 1997-2000; he returns to Providence to visit and conduct workshops with current artist mentors.