SPOTLIGHT: Clifford Owens

Clifford_Owens_hahamag

We’re continuing our Black History Month Series with a profile on the always controversial, Visual Artist, Clifford Owens.

Preferring the term Visual Artist over Performance Artist; Owen’s work is never dull, usually centering on the body and often including spontaneous interactions with the audience.  His performances push the envelope with heavy issues of race, gender relationships, and auto-eroticism – often leaving you to deal with/question his purposeful lack of emotional and physical control.

Like when I found myself confronted with his video work that dealt with different forms of abjection and how we deal or don’t deal with it for that matter. That’s all well and good – I was down to explore that until I was confronted with Owens gutting, fingering and doing all sorts of things to fruit that one couldn’t imagine unless one saw.  He takes you to the precipice… it gets uncomfortable. He’s transforming a meaning, and part of the journey is trying to hold out and watch it unfold.

Owens claims no interest in the art world, “because the art world is not interesting,” but there’s no denying his work has spurned newfound interest in performance art.  I could keep rambling on, but truly you need to see it for yourself.

Enjoy these links to more information on Owens

  • Here’s a link to a great ArtInfo article – 27 Questions with Clifford Owens.
  • This quick documentary on Clifford Owens, 2004 by Kristen Spillane will give take you through several of his performance pieces.
  • Take on his audio pieces here.
  • Want to see the anthology of work that made me squirm? Well ok…ready, set, go!