Born in New Orleans in 1926 and raised in Chicago, Clark emerged in the 1950s as a pioneer of the New York School. Over the course of seven decades, his experimentations with pure color, abstract form, and the seductive materiality of paint have yielded an oeuvre of remarkable originality, extending the language of American abstraction. Clark’s breakthroughs have an important place in the story of modern and contemporary art: in the late 1950s he was the first American artist credited with exhibiting a shaped canvas, an innovation that continues to reverberate today. His search for a means to breach the limitations of the conventional paintbrush led him to use a push broom to apply pigment to canvas laid out on the floor. Defying the discreet categories of gestural and hard-edged abstraction, Clark has masterfully interwoven these approaches into a unique form of expressionism.
After studying at the Art Institute of Chicago and L’Academie de la Grande Chaumiere in Paris, Clark continued to live and work in France, absorbing the influence of such European modernists as Nicolas de Staël, Pierre Soulages, and Jean Riopelle. He became a member of a social and intellectual circle of American expatriate artists and writers, including fellow African-American creatives Beauford Delaney, Richard Wright, James Baldwin, and Barbara Chase-Riboud. Clark settled in New York in 1957, where over the ensuing decade he became part of the city’s dynamic downtown scene and a co-founder of the Brata Gallery, an artist-run cooperative among the Tenth Street galleries of the East Village. From the late 1960s until the last decade, Clark split his time between New York and Paris, traveling extensively to other locales from Mexico and Brazil to North Africa and Greece. In 2019, while living in Detroit, Clark passed away at the age of 93. ‘No matter what I do,’ the artist said, ‘there’s not a day that I’m not an artist.’
The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago IL, 1951
L’Academie de la Grande Chaumière, Paris, France, 1953
Tilton Gallery, ‘Edward Clark: Paintings’, New York NY
Tilton Gallery, ‘Ed Clark: Big Bang’, cur. David Hammons, New York NY
N’Namdi Contemporary, ‘Le Mouvement: The Ed Clark Retrospective’, Miami FL
G.R. N’Namdi Gallery, ‘Ed Clark: Midi Series – “Chasing the Sun”’, Detroit MI
Isobel Neal Gallery, ‘Ed Clark’, Chicago IL
G.R. N’Namdi Gallery, Birmingham AL
Gallery Art 54, ‘Ed Clark: New Paintings’, New York NY
Randall Gallery, ‘Edward Clark: Martinique Interlude, Paintings and Pastels’, New York NY
Contemporary Arts Center, ‘Ed Clark’, New Orleans LA
H.C. Taylor Gallery, North Carolina A&T State University, ‘Ed Clark’, Greensboro NC
141 Prince Street Gallery, New York NY
Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo MI
Grey Art Gallery, New York University, 'Americans in Paris: Artists Working in France, 1946–1962', New York NY
Green Family Art Foundation, 'Black Abstraction: From Then 'til Now', Dallas TX
Hauser & Wirth, 'Ed Clark and Stanley Whitney: On the Path', Southampton NY
David Rubenstein Forum, The University of Chicago, 'Selections from the Collection of Kenneth C. Griffin', Chicago IL
Karma, ‘The De Luxe Show’, New York NY
University of Kentucky Art Museum, ‘Coloring’, Lexington KY
Mnuchin Gallery, ‘Highlights Of Post-War And Contemporary Art’, New York NY
The Broad, ‘Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power’, cur. Mark Godfrey, Zoe Whitley, Ashley James, Los Angeles, CA [travelled to: The Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn NY; Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville AR; Tate Modern, London/UK]
Adam Clayton Powell State Office Building, ‘Harlem Roots’, New York NY
Museum of Modern Art, ‘The Long Run’, cur. Paulina Pobocha, Cara Manes, Jenny Harris, New York NY
Greene Naftali and Matthew Marks, ‘Painting: Now & Forever, Part III’, New York NY
Tilton Gallery, ‘In Tribute to Jack Tilton: A Selection from 35 Years’, New York NY
University of Maryland University College, ‘The Language of Abstraction’, Adelphi MD
Grey Art Gallery, New York University, ‘Inventing Downtown: Artist-Run Galleries in New York City, 1952-1965’, New York NY
N’Namdi Gallery, ‘Mastering Abstraction: 80s and 90s’, Miami FL
The James E. Lewis Museum of Art, Morgan State University, ‘Abstract Expressionism and The Cold War’, Baltimore MD
Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, ‘Beyond the Spectrum: Abstraction in African American Art’, New York NY
Prospect New Orleans, ‘Prospect.3: Notes for Now’, New Orleans LA
Whitney Museum, ‘Blues for Smoke’, cur. Bennett Simpson, New York NY [travelled to: Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus/OH
University Museums at University of Delaware, ‘Abstract Relations’, cur. Julie M. McGee, Dr. Adrienne Childs, Newark DE [travelled to: David C. Driskell Center, College Park/MD]
Parish Gallery, ‘Masters for the First Family’, Washington D.C.
Walk Tall Gallery, ‘Forms of Abstraction’, East Hampton NY
New York State Museum, 'Driven to Abstraction', Albany NY
The Phillips Museum of Art, Franklin & Marshall College, ‘Something to Look Forward To’, Lancaster PA
Studio 18 Gallery, ‘Mirage & Metaphor’, New York NY
The Art Institute of Chicago, ‘A Century of Collecting: African American Art in the Art Institute of Chicago’, Chicago IL
Sugar Hill Art Center, Harlem, ‘Six American Masters’, New York NY
Museum of Science and Industry, ‘Black Creativity’, Chicago IL [travelled to: American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York/NY]
James E. Lewis Museum of Art, Morgan State University, ‘Three Masters’, Baltimore MD
University of Michigan-Dearborn, ‘Diversity & Style, African American Artists’, Dearborn MI
G.R. N’Namdi Gallery, ‘Forty Years of African American Printmaking’, Birmingham MI
Bomani Gallery, ‘Paris Connections: African American Artists in Paris’, San Francisco CA
The Art Institute of Chicago, 'From America's Studio. Drawing New Conclusions,' Chicago IL
G.R. N’Namdi Gallery, ‘Forms of Abstraction’, Birmingham MI
Galerie d’Art Noire Contemporain, ‘Les Afro-Americains et l’Europe, 1960-1992’, Paris, France
Galerie Resche, ‘Paris Connections’, Paris, France
Artists Space, ‘Artists Space Group Show’, New York NY
Philippe Briet Gallery, ‘Don’t You Know by Now’, New York NY
Jamaica Arts Center, ‘Abstract Expressionism: The Missing Link’, New York NY
The Studio Museum in Harlem, 'The Fine Art of Collecting I,' New York NY
The Fine Arts Museum of Long Island, ‘Celebrating Contemporary Black American Artists’, Hempstead NY
Just Above Midtown, ‘5+5: Artists Introduce Artists’, New York NY
Galerie d’Art Miktal, ‘Retour Aux Sources’, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivore
Yolisa House, ‘Ed Clark, Adger Cowans, Bill Hutson’, New York NY
Black Enterprise, ‘Journeys, Two Views: Recent Paintings by Ed Clark and Bill Hutson’, New York NY
Randall Gallery, ‘Group Show’, New York NY
Centro de Arte Moderno de Guadalajara, ‘Icarus Odyssey’, Guadalajara, Mexico
Art Salon, New York NY
___, ‘Tenth Street Days: The Co-Ops of the 1950s’, New York NY
Ankrum Gallery, ‘Graphic Arts Exhibition: A Selected Sampling’, Los Angeles CA
The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, ‘Fall Exhibitions’, Ridgefield CT
Cal Murphy Fine Arts Center, Morgan State College, ‘Two Man Show: Ed Clark and Lawrence Kalawale’, Baltimore MD
Nova Gallery, Boston MA
Marino Galleries, ‘53 Fighting Co-Operative Artists’, New York NY
American Center for Artists, ‘Grandes Toiles de Montparnasse’, Paris, France
American Center for Artists, ‘Grandes Toiles de Montparnasse’, Paris, France
Salon de Comparison, Paris, France
Awards & Grants
Pagé, Suzanne, Scherf, Angeline, Mathieu, Marianne, 'Monet/Mitchell', Paris: Fondation Louis Vuitton, 2022, pp. 176-179, ill.
Corm, Tamara, Edwards, Adrienne, von Wedel, Amelie, Holmes, Pernilla, 'Impulse. Kenneth Noland, Morris Louis, Sam Gillam, Ed Clark and Frank Bowling', London: Pace London, 2017 (exh. cat)
Marter, Joan M. (ed.), 'The Grove Encyclopedia of American Art: Volume 1', Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press, 2011, pp. 482–3.
Kelly, June. New York: Randall Gallery, 1981 (exh. cat.)
Robbins, Corinne, 'Pluralist Era. American Art 1969-1981', New York: Harper & Row, 1981
Kingsley, April, 'Afro-American Abstraction', New York: P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, 1980 (exh. cat.)
__, ‘Hauser & Wirth | Ed Clark & Stanley Whitney: On the Path | Southampton | May 28 – June 25’, on: ifpda.org, 28 May 2022
Segal, Mark, ‘The Art Scene 05.26.22’, on: easthamptonstar.com, 27 May 2022
Riefe, Jordan, 'Ed Clark: The Lost Abstract Expressionist', on: artandobject.com, 1 December 2020, ill.
Groom, Angela, 'Ed Clark. Hauser & Wirth', on: artillerymag.com, 21 October 2020, ill.
Harden, Essence, 'Los Angeles’s Art Scene Has Taken Care of Its Own during the Pandemic', on: artsy.net, 25 September 2020, ill.
Little, Colony, 'Ed Clark: The Motion of the Stroke', on: cshockart.com, 24 September 2020, ill.
___, 'Ed Clark 'Expanding the Image' @ Hauser and Wirth', on: 2-times.com, Melbourne, 16 September 2020, ill.
___, 'Ed Clark 'Expanding the Image' @ Hauser and Wirth Los Angeles', on: autre.love, Los Angeles, 14 September 2020, ill.
Dambrot, Shana Nys, 'Painter Ed Clark Pushes Boundaries, Literally', on: laweekly.com, 10 September 2020, ill.
Belcove, Julie, 'The Sweeping Impact of Ed Clark', in: Robb Report, New York, September 2020, p. 46, ill.
Andres, Holly, 'Things to do – online and in-person – in the San Fernando Valley, LA area, Aug. 20-27', on: dailynews.com, 27 August 2020
___, 'Ed Clark: Expanding the Image', on: airmail.news, 18 August 2020, ill.
Westall, Mark, 'Ed Clark Expanding the Image', on: fadmagazine.com, 11 August 2020, ill.
Berg, Allison, ‘The LALA List’, in: LALA, Los Angeles, August 2020, pp. 40-41, ill.
___, ‘Ed Clark: Expanding the Image’, on: timeout.com, London, 27 July 2020, ill.
Valentine, Victoria L., 'Record-Setting Painting by Noah Davis and Abstract Canvas by Ed Clark Top Phillips New Now Contemporary Art Auction', on: www.culturetype.com, Silver Spring, 6 March 2020, ill.
___, 'Object lessons: from a spring-time Alma Thomas to an enamel lamp representing an 'ecstatic orgasm'', in: The Art Newspaper, London, 2 March 2020, ill.
Graff, Gary, 'Late painter to receive special award from DIA', in: The Oakland Press, Oakland, 21 Februrary 2020, ill.
Langer, Emily, 'Ed Clark, 93, abstract painter whose brush was a broom and grew up in Chicago, has died', in: The Chicago Tribune, Chicago IL, 29 October 2019
Smith, Roberta and Vigdor, Neil, 'Ed Clark, Pioneering Abstract Expressionist Painter, Dies at 93', in: The New York Times, New York NY, 19 October 2019, ill.
Yau, John, 'Recognizing Ed Clark’s Contribution to Abstraction', in: Hyperallergic, 7 October 2018, ill.
Smith, Roberta, 'At 7 Art Galleries, the Ecstatic Flow of Paint and the Stories It Can Tell', in: The New York Times, New York, 27 September 2018, ill.
___, 'From the Archives. Ed Clark’s Dynamically Constructed Abstractions', in: ARTnews, 21 September 2018, ill.
Cotter, Holland, 'Radiant and Radical. 20 Years of Defining the Soul of Black Art', in: The New York Times, New York, 14 September 2018
Russeth, Andrew, 'Ed Clark Will Have Career Survey at Mnuchin Gallery in New York', in: ARTnews, 4 September 2018, ill.
Yau, John, 'Taking Stock of Painting Today', on: www.hyperallergic.com, 12 August 2018
___, 'When We Saw Ed's Painting, We Immediately Fell in Love', on: www.frieze.com, 3 May 2018, ill.
___, 'The Stars of the Washington Color School Get a Transcendent Survey—See It Here', on: www.news.artnet.com, 18 December 2017, ill.
___, 'Ed Clark at Weiss Berlin, Berlin', on: www.moussemagazine.it, Milan, 29 September 2017, ill.
Elderton, Louisa, 'Ed Clark', in: Artforum, New York, 22 September 2017, ill.
Schwabsky, Barry, 'Edward Clark, Tilton Gallery', in: Artforum, New York, April 2017, p. 210, ill.
Davis, Ben, 'Witnessing Ed Clark's Balancing Act at Tilton Gallery', on: www.news.artnet.com, 3 February 2017, ill.
Yau, John, 'The Second Generation Abstract Expressionist Ed Clark', on www.hyperallergic.com, 29 January 2017, ill.
Brown, Jessica Bell, 'How Black Modern Artists Defied a Singular Narrative in 1971', on www.hyperallergic.com, 17 January 2017, ill.
Cotter, Holland, 'When Artists Ran the Show 'Inventing Downtown' at N.Y.U.', in: The New York Times, New York, 12 January 2017
Kennedy, Randy, 'Inventing Downtown Recalls When Artists Ran the Galleries', in: The New York Times, New York, 10 January 2017
Whitten, Jack, 'Edward Clark by Jack Whitten', on: bombmagazine.org, 2 June 2014, ill.
Swarns, Rachel L., 'As a Painter Grows Older, His Creativity Endures', in: The New York Times, New York, 23 February 2014, ill.
Cotter, Holland, 'Ed Clark: Big Bang', in: The New York Times, New York, 21 February, 2014, C22
Russeth, Andrew, 'Ed Clark at Tilton Gallery', on: nyobserver.com, 5 February 2014, ill.
Boucher, Brian, 'David Hammons Curates Edward Clark', in: Art in America, New York, 3 February 2014
Yau, John, 'A History Waiting To Be Written. Ed Clark's High-Spirited, Abstract Paintings', on: hyperallergic.com, 26 January 2014, ill.
Canavan, Gillian, 'Ed Clark. Big Bang', in: Spike Magazine, Vienna, 2014
Bechet, Ron, 'Artist on Artist. Ron Bechet on Ed Clark', on: pelicanbomb.com, 27 April 2011, ill.
Liping, An, Dawoud, Bey, 'A Drawing and Photographs of Ed Clark', in: Black Renaissance/Renaissance noire, Institute of African American Affairs at New York University, New York, 2007, vol. 7.2, 54–58
Allen, Joan M., 'Clark Exhibition, 'From Sicily to Egypt,' More than Surpasses the Sublime', in: The New York Amsterdam News, New York, 26 February – 4 March 1998
Johnson, Ken, 'Art Guide: Edward Clark', in: The New York Times, New York, 6 February 1998, E37
Holg, Garrett, 'Ed Alert; Chicago Roots Revive in Paschke, Clark Show', in: The Chicago Sun Times, Chicago, 28 September 1997
Auer, James, 'Black Artists Found Their Voices in Paris', in: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Milwaukee, 25 May 1997, p. 15
Mitchell, Charles Dee, 'Painters Found Liberation in the City of Light', in: Dallas Morning News, 3 February 1997
Branch, Brenda, 'Portrait/Self Portrait: Edward Clark', in: Cinque Gallery Newsletter, Winter 1997, ill.
Robbins, Corinne, 'Ed Clark. The Fulfillment of a 'Grand' Talent', 1997
Bookhardt, D. Eric, 'African-American Artists in Paris', in: The Gambit Weekly, New Orleans, 1 September 1996
Glatt, Cara, 'Expressing Creativity without Prejudice', in: Hyde Park Herald, Chicago, 7 August 1996, A8, ill.
Holg, Garrett, 'Freedom in Paris', in: The Chicago Sun Times, Chicago, 4 August 1996
Artner, Alan, 'Key City', in: The Chicago Tribune, Chicago, 28 July 1996, F10, ill.
Greggs, LaTicia D., 'The Soul of Paris: African American Artists Find Inspiration in the City of Lights', in: The Chicago Defender, Chicago, 6 July 1996, p. 19
Béhar, Henri, 'Quand les peintres afro-américains investissaient Paris', in: Le Monde, Paris, 2 May 1996
Sirmans, Franklin, 'African-American Artists in Paris, 1945-1965', in: Art News, New York, April 1996, pp. 132-133, ill.
Gaouette, Nicole, 'African-American Art That Blossomed in Postwar Paris', in: The Christian Science Monitor, Boston, 26 March 1996
Naves, Mario, 'Paris as Haven: "Explorations in the City of Light"', in: The New Criterion, New York March 1996, pp. 43-45, ill.
Kimmelman, Michael, 'Black Artists at Home in Postwar Paris', in: The New York Times, New York, 18 February 1996, p. 39
Glueck, Grace, 'Take the A Train to Paris; Take a Seat in SoHo', in: The New York Observer, New York, 12 February 1996
___, 'Among Friends of the Arts', in: The New York Times, New York, 4 February 1996, p. 47, ill.
Brunskill, Joan, 'Black Artists Reflect on How Paris Shaped Their Work', in: The Dallas Morning News, Dallas, 2 February 1996, 4C
Fraser, C. Gerald, 'Studio Museum in Harlem, African-American Artists in Paris 1945-1965', in: New York Amsterdam News, New York, 27 January 1996, p. 21
Tyson, Janet, 'Fog in the City of Light', in: The Houston Star Telegram, Dallas, 1996
Mercer, Valerie J., 'The Studio Museum in Harlem: Twenty-Five Years of African American Art', in: American Art Review, Stratham, New Hampshire, 1995, vol. 7.1, p. 142.
Bellamy, Peter, 'The Artist’s Project: Portraits of the Real Art World C: New York Artists 1981–1990', in: Artist Project, New York, January 1991, p. 62
Colby, Joy, 'Ed Clark Has a Brush with Success', in: The Detroit Free Press, Detroit, 12 February 1990, p.6-C
Jones, Kellie, '___', in: Art Space Catalogue, New York, 1990
Cyphers, Peggy, 'New York Reviews: Ed Clark, Carol Haere, and Ted Kurahara (Artists Space)', in: Arts Magazine, vol. 64, no. 10, Summer 1990, p. 90
Loughery, John, 'Abstract Expressionism: The Missing Link', in: New Art Examiner, New York, 1989
Loughery, John, 'Ed Clark Gallery Art 54; Harvey Quaytman David McKee', in: Arts Magazine, vol. 61, no. 8, April 1987, p. 108
Colby, Joy, 'Clark's Abstract Landscapes', in: The Detroit News, Detroit, 15 March 1987
___, 'Ed Clark, Recent Paintings- Gallery Art 54', in: Art News, New York, March 1987, p. 138
___, 'After Dark, Artists Celebrate', in: The News, North Jersey, 9 February 1982
Tapley, Mel, 'Carter Cabinet Member Visits Ed Clark Exhibit at Studio Museum', in: The Amsterdam News, 10 January 1981, p. 27
Wilson, Judith, 'Edward Clark. Directions', in: Art in America, January 1981, vol. 69, no. 1, pp. 119-121
___, 'South Side YMCA Show', in: The Chicago Tribune, Chicago, 1981
___, 'Edward Clark at South Houston', in: Art in America, 1981
___, 'Huit Peintres Noirs Americans', in: Fraternité Matin, Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, October 1980
Kingsley, April, 'Edward Clark's Luminous Expanses', in: The American Rag, New York, vol. 1, no. 2/3, 1980, p. 38
___, 'Etches of Ebony', in: Louisiana Black History Calendar, 1980
Bey, Dawoud, 'In Search of a Vision. Edward Clark and Candida Alvarez', in: Uptown, 1980
Goode-Bryant, Linda, 'After Dark', in: Artery, The National Forum for College Art, Patterson, vol. 5, no. 3, 1980
Kingsley, April, 'Black Artists: Up Against the Wall', in: The Village Voice, New York, September 1978, p. 113
___, 'Artist Presents Pastel to LSU', in: The Sunday Advocate, Baton Rouge, 16 July 1978, p. 9-G
Robbins, Corinne, 'Edward Clark', in: Arts, November 1975, p. 8
___, 'Edward Clark, James Yu Gallery', in: Arts, October 1975
Robins, Corinne, 'Edward Clark. Push-Broom and Canvas', in: Art International, vol. XVII, no 8, October 1973, pp. 36-37, 64
Levin, Kim, '___', in: Art News, New York, November 1972
Campbell, Lawrence, 'Edward Clark 141 Prince Street Gallery', in: Art News, New York, vol. 71, no. 7, November 1972, pp. 77, 82, ill.
Kingsley, April, 'Edward Clark, 141 Prince Street Gallery', in: Artforum, vol. XI, no. 4, December 1972, pp. 82-83
____, 'Americains, Noirs… et Peintres. Expositions' in: Jeune Afrique, Paris, no. 431, April 1969
Schneider, Pierre, 'Trois Americians peintres at noirs', in: l' Express, Paris, 3-9 March 1969, p. 82
___, 'A Travers de les Galleries', in: Le Monde, Paris, October 1966
Feldman, Anita, 'Letter to the Editor: Space Race', in: Arts Magazine, January 1966, p. 7, ill.
___, 'U.S.A. Painter Scores in Paris', in: Liberator, 1966
Schuyler, James, ' Review: Edward Clark [Brata Gallery]', in: Art News, New York, vol. 57, no. 1, March 1958, p. 59
Dash, R. Warren, 'In the Galleries: Edward Clark, Brata Gallery', in: Arts, vol. 32, no. 6, March 1958, p. 64
'___', in: Le Peinture, 1 June 1955
Berrin, L., 'Peintres Americains en France: Recent Oeuvres, American Legion Show', in: Bulletin de la Galerie Raymond Crueze, Catalogue #2, 21-30 October 1955
Seuphor, Michel, '___', in: Art Aujourd'hui, 1955
Carvalho, R., 'Salon d'Autome Review', in: La Reuve Moderne, 1953
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Without a Doubt