Mark Allen

  • Expertise


    Mark Allen is an artist, educator and curator based in Los Angeles. He is the founder and executive director of Machine Project, a non-profit performance and installation space investigating art, technology, natural history, science, music, literature, and food in an informal storefront in the Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles. Machine Project also operates as an informal team of artists who collaborate to present work at locations ranging from beaches to museums to parking lots. Under his direction, Machine has produced shows with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Hammer Museum at UCLA, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver, the Contemporary Art Museum St Louis, and the Walker Museum in Minneapolis. He has produced over 1,000 events in Los Angeles at the Machine Project storefront space.

    Teaching Philosophy

    1. Art is a space in culture for thinking about ideas.
    2. Art is not defined by materials or means of production but the context in which it appears, discussed and analyzed.
    3. Art is a great excuse to do stuff you want to do.
    4. Great ideas show up every day, there's no reason to be stingy with them.
    5. Thinking happens with other people.
    6. There is nothing wrong with creating beautiful things but there is something depressing about making unique collectables for the wealthy.
    7. Interesting human beings can sustain multiple contradictory belief systems without dying from cognitive dissonance.
    8. Your friends are your first and best audience.
    9. Small, grassroots, and intimate is better than large, corporate, and formal.
    10. Successful artists are empathic and can imagine themselves as the audience of their own work.

    Research Interests

    Mark Allen is the founder and director of the Machine Project, a non-profit installation and performance space that provides educational resources to artists working with technology; collaborates with artists to produce site-specific, non-commercial work; and promotes conversations between artists, scientists, poets, technicians, performers and the communities of Los Angeles. Like his previous three galleries, the Machine Project reflects Allen’s interest in looking at different ways to investigate artistic questions in collaborative settings.

  • Work


    Allen, Mark. Machine Project: The Platinum Collection. Saratoga Springs, Tang Publications Spring 2016. Monograph.

    Allen, Mark. “Notes Toward Socratic Gardening.” In the Canyon, Revise the Canon — Utopian Knowledge, Radical Pedagogy and Artist-run Community Art Spaces in Southern California. Ed. Géraldine Gourbe. Rennes: Shelter Press, 2015. 81-85. Print

    Allen, Mark. Machine Project Hammer Museum Public Engagement Artist in Residence Report. Los Angeles, Machine Project Press. 2013

    Allen, Mark. Machine Project: A Field Guide to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Los Angeles, Machine Project Press. 2009

    Featured Exhibits

    Machine Project: The Platinum Collection (Live By Special Request), The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY, 2015

    Machine Project at the Border, Rubin Center for the Visual Arts, University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, TX, 2014

    The Machine Project Field Guide to L.A. Architecture, J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, CA, 2013

    Paris at Your Home!, Mains d’œuvres, Paris, France, 2013

    Intimate Science, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA, 2012

    Open Field, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN 2011

    The Artist’s Museum, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA, 2010

    The Front Room, Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis, MO, 2010

    A Machine Project Field Guide to LACMA, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA , 2008

  • Education


    1999 Master of Fine Art
    California Institute of the Arts

    1992 Bachelor of Fine Art, magna cum laude
    Skidmore College

    Professional Experience

    Prior to opening Machine Project, Allen was involved with several alternative arts groups as a curator, board member and director, and co-founded the Los Angeles new media collective c-level. He has taught at the California Institute of the Arts and the University of California San Diego, and is currently an Associate Professor of Art at Pomona College. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts in New York, and served for three years as a member of the Artist Advisory Board of the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles.

    Recent Courses Taught

    • Artist as Curator and Organizer
    • 2D Design
    • Performance in Contemporary Art
    • Art Majors Seminar
    • Foundations of Digital Design
    • Digital Art 1
    • Sound Art
    • Electron Wrangling
    • Computer Programming for Artists
    • Art Major Seminar
    • 21st-Century Sculpture
  • Awards & Honors

    Awards & Honors

    Board Member, Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, 2007 - present

    Board Member, Artists Advisory Board for the Hammer Museum, 2007-2010

    Art Matters Grant, 2015

    Member, Second Artists Council, The Hammer Museum (Los Angeles), 2009

    Through Machine Project, Allen has been the principal investigator for grants from the following foundations:

    • Bloomberg Philanthropies, 2015 - 2017       
    • California Community Foundation, 2015
    • The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
    • The Knight Foundation, 2014 - 2015           
    • Los Angeles County Arts Commission, 2009, 2010, 2014
    • The Andy Warhol Foundation, 2007, 2009, 2012, 2014
    • Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, 2013 – 2014
    • Good Works Foundation,  2014
    • The Mellon Foundation, 2014
    • Orphiflamme Foundation, 2013
    • Paul Getty Trust; Pacific Standard Time Initiative, 2013, 2014
    • The James Irvine Foundation, 2011, 2012
    • City of Los Angeles, Department of Cultural Affairs, 2008, 2011
    • Durfee Foundation, 2007, 2009
    • The Norton Foundation, 2006, 2008
    • Pasadena Art Alliance, 2008
    • Warhol Initiative Grant, 2008
    • Annenberg Foundation, 2007

    Artist websites: Machine Project,