Mark Jenkins' September project for the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art provided a lesson in the difficulties faced by a self-described "street artist" working within an institutional context. The project also provided a revealing test of the art tolerance of law-enforcement authorities in the "City of the Arts."
In the past four years, Jenkins, based in Washington, has developed an international reputation for his life-size sculptures of human and animal figures, cast from clear-plastic packing tape and other humble materials, and usually installed in public settings. The idea is to prompt passersby to question what they're seeing. Instead of reclaiming the pieces for sale or re-use, Jenkins typically leaves them behind to remain on view indefinitely.