Marcus Jansen is an internationally acclaimed painter with studios based in Bronx, New York, and Fort Myers, Florida. Although his work seem especially timely now, it’s the the last 25 years that Jansen has been noted by critics and historians alike, as a pioneer in his often socially critical and politically charged expressive landscape practices since the late 90’s.
Jansen's unique oeuvre serves as an emotive and refreshing insightful critique of the contemporary American and global political and sociological landscape. Following a series of solo museum exhibitions in Europe in painting, multimedia, and sculpture, he sounds a stirring battle cry against the miscarriage of justice of the early 21st century through an expressive and engaged aesthetic, arguably unseen in American art since Robert Rauschenberg or Jean-Michel Basquiat.
Jansen was born in 1968, the child of a Jamaican mother and raised by a German father. He first lived in the South Bronx and spent his formative years in New York City and later in Monchengladbach, Germany where he was educated as a teen. First influenced by the rebellious gestures of the 1980s graffiti movement in America on trips back home, he admired those that valiantly rejected oppression through the action of marking space in paint, and would make his own start much later by peddling his paintings on the sidewalks of Manhattan’s SoHo district in 1999 as seen in the latest art documentary film, Marcus Jansen / Examine and Report.
As a former U.S. Army soldier turned combatant for the avant-garde, it was the Desert Storm offensive that permanently altered the artist’s mode of perception and manner of expression. Expressing a strong sense of duty rather than aggression, Jansen states, “Painting is the most intimate act of war,“ about his compelling contemporary production.
Former museum director of the American Vanguard action paintings exhibition in 1961, art historian, and curator Jerome A. Donson dubbed Jansen the innovator of “modern expressionism”, reminiscent of the early 20th century Ashcan School of art. Former two time Documenta Kassel curator Dr. Manfred Schneckenburger goes further, noting Jansen is “one of the most important American painters of his generation.”
Jansen’s work has been in solo exhibitions at the La Triennale di Milano Museum (Milan, Italy), the Spandau Citadel (Berlin, Germany), Cornell Fine Arts Museum, Rollins College and the Kallmann Museum (Ismaning, Germany). His group shows include the 12th annual International Print and Drawing Biennale at the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts and the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in his most recent museum group exhibition “Deconstructing Marcus Jansen.” International Art Fair showings include Art021, in Shanghai, Taipei Dangdai, in Taiwan, and Art Miami, during Art Basel Miami Beach.
Jansen's prominent permanent collections include at the University of Michigan Museum of Art, The Alfond Collection of Contemporary Art, Cornell Fine Arts Museum, Rollins College, the Moscow Museum of Modern Art, the New Britain Museum of American Art, the Perm Museum of Contemporary Art, the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Housatonic Museum of Art and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.
Jansen, is the founder of the Marcus Jansen Foundation Fund, which aims to assist low-income community organizations in Southwest Florida by enhancing their cultural awareness through art and music, as well as supporting organizations that help veterans diagnosed with PTSD seeking art as a way to express their angst.