Faculty in Focus: Mark Cameron Boyd

March 28, 2013

Mark Cameron Boyd

Adjunct Professor of Art Theory

When students call Mark Cameron Boyd a “brainiac,” they aren’t just complimenting his intelligence. Mark used to sing and play saxophone and drums in an L.A. band called the Brainiacs. In fact, he and his brother—another Brainiac—still play together as the Boyd Brothers (check them out here).  

A native of Fayetteville, Arkansas, Mark lived in Los Angeles from 1976 to 1996, during which time he engaged in a wide range of artistic and musical endeavors.  “It was an exciting time to be in California,” he remembers. “I got to know people in [indie legends] X and the Blasters as well as artists like Jim Shaw, Mike Kelley, Raymond Pettibon, and Jorge Pardo.” In addition to founding and running the Zero Zero Gallery, Mark worked in the admissions department of the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. The head of the film department was impressed with his knowledge of film noir and offered him a teaching job. Another class he taught, Outlaw Culture, culminated in forming a rock band.

Mark moved to D.C. in 1996 to be with the woman who would become his wife, and he began work on his MFA at the University of Maryland. “By the time I was that age, I was ready to focus,” he says. His art, which can be seen here, is largely text based and involves the public's hands-on participation. It has been shown in American University Museum at Katzen Arts Center, The Athenaeum (Alexandria, VA), and Meat Market Gallery, as well as the Corcoran Gallery of Art.

In 2004, the Corcoran’s Ivan Witenstein invited Mark to design a course called Theory Now, and he’s taught it every semester since then. He also teaches Art as Social Practice, which incorporates performance, “post-conceptualism,” and other disciplines. The class is planning to stage a participatory event at Hillyer Art Space as part of their Soapbox performance series. He explains, "I'm fortunate that my work in participatory art has led me to collaborate with my students on creating art projects. This engages both the lecturer and the practitioner in me, as well as art events that result."