Photo of Franklin Sirmans by Angel Valentin. Courtesy Pérez Art Museum Miami;Photo of Hedy Clark;Photo of Adger Cowans ©Gail Nogle

In Conversation: Franklin Sirmans, Hedy Clark & Adger Cowans on 'Ed Clark. The Big Sweep'

  • Sat 9 September 2023

To celebrate the opening weekend of the exhibition 'Ed Clark. The Big Sweep', please join us for a conversation about the pioneering artist Ed Clark with his former wife Hedy Clark, photographer Adger Cowans and Director of Pérez Art Museum Miami, Franklin Sirmans.

Unfolding over two floors of our West 22nd Street gallery, the exhibition spans six decades of Clark’s profoundly influential practice, from his revolutionary use of push brooms as painting tools to his breakthrough introduction of the shaped canvas and beyond.

The exhibition is accompanied by the release of ‘Ed Clark: The Big Sweep’, a comprehensive new book produced by Hauser & Wirth Publishers, which will be available for purchase.

This event is free, however, reservations are recommended.

Click here to register.

About Ed Clark
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.

About Franklin Sirmans
Franklin Sirmans is the Director of the Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM). Since 2015, working with a team of 100+, he has led the growth of the museum’s endowment and collection. He has brought in exhibitions by artists including Andy Warhol and Marisol; Leandro Erlich; Yayoi Kusama; Carlos Cruz-Diez and others in addition to group shows on the writer Joan Didion, futbol and climate change. Prior to his appointment in Miami, he was the department head and curator of contemporary art at Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) from 2010 until 2015 and Head of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Menil Collection, in Houston, from 2006 to 2010. He has curated exhibitions including 'Futbol: The Beautiful Game'; 'Noah Purifoy: Junk Dada; NeoHooDoo: Art for a Forgotten Faith'; 'Maurizio Cattelan: Is Their Life Before Death?'; 'One Planet Under A Groove: Contemporary Art and Hip Hop and Vija Celmins: Television and Disaster, 1964-1966'. He was the artistic director of 'Notes for Now', the Prospect.3 New Orleans exhibition, from 2012-2014. And, he is the 2007 David Driskell Prize winner, administered by the High Museum of Art, Atlanta. A graduate of Wesleyan University, Sirmans has also taught art criticism at Princeton University and the Maryland Institute College of Art.

About About Hedy Clark
Hedy Clark is the former wife of Ed Clark (1926-2019). Born and raised in Philadelphia, and a graduate of Hunter College (BA), and Yeshiva University (MSW), Hedy moved to New York in the 60s, and with her then-husband, was part of a vibrant arts community in both New York and Paris (where they lived for a time), that included painters such as Jack Whitten, William T. Williams, Joan Mitchell, as well as writers, and musicians.  She and Clark had one daughter together, Melanca Clark, who manages Ed Clark's estate.  Hedy spent most of her career as a paralegal and social worker and is now retired living in Silver Spring, Maryland.

About Adger Cowans
Born in New OrleansNow an icon himself in the world of photography and fine art, Cowans’ photographs have been shown and collected by the African American Historical and Cultural Museum in Washington D.C., The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Whitney, The International Museum of Photography, The Museum of Modern Art, Studio Museum of Harlem, Cleveland Museum of Art, Harvard Fine Art Museum, Detroit Art Institute, James E. Lewis Museum, The Getty Museum and the Whitney Museum of American Art.

His numerous awards include the Lorenzo il Magnifico alla Carriera, in recognition of a Distinguished Career at the 2001 Florence Biennale of Contemporary Art, a John Hay Whitney Fellowship, and the Martin Luther King, Jr., Caesar Chavez, Rosa Parks Visiting Scholars Award from Wayne State University and most recently, the Gordon Parks Choice of Weapons Award.