Clifford Owens is one of the key figures in contemporary Black performance art. He commonly uses photography, text, video, visual performance and community interaction to elicit underlying social dynamics across lines of race, class, gender, and sexuality. In 1998, Clifford received a BFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago; and in 2000, a MFA at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ. He continued his studies in the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program in NY in 2001 and at Skowhegan in 2004.
Owens has exhibited art at P.S.1/MoMA, NY; Queens Museum of Art, NY; List Visual Art Center, Cambridge, MA, Yerba Beuna Center for the Arts, San Francisco; Para-Site Art Space, Hong Kong, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, NC and On Stellar Rays Gallery, NY. As an artist and cultural critic, he has been featured in Performa: New Visual Art Performance, Greater New York, and Vibe Magazine. He is also a recipient of numerous residencies and awards, including the Louis Tiffany Comfort Award; the Lambent Fellowship for the Arts; NY Foundation for the Arts. Owens has completed residencies at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture; the Studio Museum in Harlem and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he completed a two week program, featuring performances from his series Photographs with an Audience. There, he was interested in the role of photography in the documentation of social relationships. In Photographs with an Audience, Owens used performance as subject matter for his photographic works, leading the audience through a series of interactions and gestures, while pausing to capture moments on film. He currently is represented by On Stellar Rays Gallery in New York, marking his first solo exhibition there in November 2008. He lives and works in New York City.
– Kia Carscallen, December 2009