Referred to as the innovator of “Urban Expressionism” by the former Director of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York, Jerome A. Donson, Marcus Antonius Jansen is a bright shining star in the art world today.

Jerome Donson
The late Jerome A. Donson with Marcus Jansen.
“I told him I believed he was the originator of a new movement which I called “urban expressionism” and that I believed that there will be many followers in this new style,” Donson wrote in the forward to Jansen’s first book, Modern Urban-Expressionism. “But there will only be one Marcus Jansen. So I recommend to you art collectors to buy the paintings now before his work jumps sky-high.”

Too late, I think. But Jansen is still a hot ticket item for any art collector today–and for museums, as more of them are taking an interest in Jansen’s work. Not too many artists can boast of pioneering new movements. That is why Naples Noteworthy has named Marcus Jansen One of the Most Important American Painters of Our Time.

We’re not the first to take note of Jansen’s influence. He received rave reviews in Europe, The Tageszeitung calling him one of the most important post-modernist painters in America. And ESPOARTE writes: “A New Star is Born” in a piece by Igor Zanti after his opening in Milan, Italy the year prior.

As Amy Tardiff of WGCU writes, “Jansen explores the contemporary human condition. He may be considered one of the most exciting new painters to emerge at the early part of the 21st century and has created an international following.”

Listen to the interview Jansen did with WGCU before leaving for his London Lazarides Exhibition:

barbara steinhoff wgcu marcus jansen
Photo Credit: Barbara Steinhoff, WGCU

WGCU – Amy Tardiff Interview Urban Expressionist Marcus Jansen 1:00 pm – Wed October 15, 2014
Jansen is currently showing in London, with upcoming shows in Rome, Beijing and New York City. Works are also available at HW Gallery, Naples.

To be honest, we find some of Jansen’s art to be unsettling, even disturbing. But that is precisely what makes his art so important. It reflects an urban dystopia that is simultaneously surreal, reflective, puzzling, and perhaps–though hopefully not–prophetic. With a single painting Jansen makes more of a socio-political statement than many political scientists manage to convey in their graduate theses.

“Breaking News,” Marcus Jansen.
Marcus Jansen’s art may not be what you hang in your living room–unless, of course, you have a lot of class. His art doesn’t fade into the wall like so much of what you see today. No, his art draws you in, mesmerizes you, astonishes you, confronts you, possibly offends you. “I don’t like it,” you may hear someone say–usually someone who doesn’t care much for fine art in general, someone who prefers palm trees and sunsets, and a world where Dorothy clicked her heels and found her way home. Good. That’s the beginning of a conversation. Why don’t you like it? “It bothers me. It makes me nervous.”

Perhaps we should be nervous. Because Jansen seems to have knack for bringing to life the landscape of our evolving global consciousness, that strange netherworld of interconnected icons, movements and expressions laced together with the more fragile strands of dreams; he paints the world we see, even if we could not have painted it ourselves.

“Forclosures,” Marcus Jansen.
Haunting imagery such as the appearance of the iconic Mickey Mouse, sometimes only manifesting as partial mangled ears, and the incorporation of the American flag in surprising places leave the viewer to wonder, and the multiple interpretations possible are what make Jansen’s art so interesting and provocative. Naples Noteworthy thought such imagery made a statement on the death of the American dream, on globalization, on the impact of corporations on the urban wasteland, on the loss of innocence in a horrifically evil and darkening world, on the hatred of the world toward America, on the detachment of the entertainment-focused news media from reality, on the encroaching nightmare of end time eschatology on global consciousness that robs us of our childhood dreams. The fact that the same imagery could be interpreted in so many different possible ways is the key to Jansen’s powerful appeal, and is what makes Marcus Jansen one of the most exciting artists alive today.

He is certainly the Mark Antony of the art world, his opening at Lazarides, London hailed with this tweet by Steve Lazarides:

“Marcus Jansen fucking rocked last night. Now I’m old and even more jaded don’t see much that I like. I like the cut of this chaps jib.”