Clifford Owens, ‘Photographs with an Audience (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill)’, 2009, Recess

About Clifford Owens

Clifford Owens challenges the conventions of art-making through his raw, physically demanding performances, in which he examines and overturns the historically subordinate position of African Americans in the arts and in society in general. Describing his own position as an artist, he states: “I dislike labels in general, but I'm particularly allergic to the ‘performance artist’ label that has been attached to my practice. I'm a trans-disciplinary visual artist working through photography, video, and installation.” His own body, photography, and viewers themselves are integral to his work. Anthology (2011-12), a project based at MoMA PS1 in New York, grew out of his long-held intention to rectify the underrepresentation of African American performance artists. By following instructions solicited from a multigenerational group of black artists and transforming their scores into performances, Owens effectively created an unprecedented compendium of African American performance art.

American, b. 1971, Baltimore, Maryland, based in New York, New York