Join Today, or Sign-In if you're already a member.

Neil Marcus

Neil Marcus
These drawings are a direct outgrowth of Marcus’s performance practice. His theater work incorporates dance that is based on the forms and movements of his body. Cerebral palsy bestows a drama in the shapes and poses of his presentation.
Criptography #2
Ink on Paper, 40” x 30”
2004
Permanent Collection of Access Living
Gift of the Artist
BIO
Neil Marcus (b. 1954, NY) is an internationally recognized central figure in the development of disability culture. As a writer, actor, dancer, philosopher, and visual artist he has had a profound impact on the thinking and lives of disabled people far and wide. “Storm Reading,” his play in collaboration with Rod Lathim and Access Theater, has been shown on television and performed at the Kennedy Center, as well as being featured on NPR and NBC’s “Today Show.” Marcus is based in Berkeley, CA.

THE ART
These drawings are a direct outgrowth of Marcus’s performance practice. His theater work incorporates dance that is based on the forms and movements of his body. Cerebral palsy bestows a drama in the shapes and poses of his presentation. Some aspects of his performance appear in these drawings as choreographer’s notations. At the same time, they weave together the international symbol for disability (the wheelchair-riding stick figure) and his attempt to invent a disability-specific language with its own alphabet. In this excerpt from his poem “Disabled Country” he writes:

if there was a country called disabled
i would be from there. i’d live disabled
culture, eat disabled food, make disabled
love, cry disabled tears, climb disabled
mountains and tell disabled stories

An important aspect of Marcus’s work is the way that the calligraphic line is an expression of his body. All artists must negotiate between the intent of their mind and the capabilities of their body to accomplish a vision. In this line we can see Marcus’s natural movement and range of motion as a documented moment. This leads us to contemplate the unique, body-specific gesture latent in any drawn or painted stroke.