Clifford Owens

Born 1971
Hometown Baltimore, MD
Lives and Works New York, NY
MFA Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, 2000
BFA School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL 1998

On Stellar Rays Gallery, New York, NY

While Clifford Owens's works typically incorporate an element of performance, he rejects the label of performance artist, preferring instead to call himself a "transdisciplinary visual artist," for whom performances often comingle with photography, video, and installation. Owens's performances are never treated as self-contained works, but are documented as a means to create photographs and video. Often involving audience participation, his work forces the audience to consider the dynamics of race, gender, class, and sexuality.

For his 2011 project Anthology, made during a residency at MoMA PS1, Owens invited twenty-six African American artists spanning multiple generations—including Ben Patterson, Maren Hassinger, Lorraine O'Grady, and Glenn Ligon—to contribute scores, or performance instructions, for Owens to interpret and perform. Owens enacted these scores throughout the institution's building, a former schoolhouse, ultimately displaying the documentation in the form of an exhibition. Conceived as a corrective to the invisibility of African American artists in histories of performance art, the scores ranged from the controversial—a Kara Walker score instructed him to demand sex from an audience member—to the poetic.

In addition to Anthology, Owens was the subject of a solo show at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston (2011), and has been included in notable group exhibitions such as Freestyle (2001) at the Studio Museum in Harlem, curated by Thelma Golden, and Performa05.

There are currently no works by this artist.
Follow Clifford Owens to get alerts when new works are added!
Or if you are actively looking for works by Clifford Owens, click here to send us a message and we'll find it for you.



Collecting With a Conscience
If You Like Bruce Nauman, You'll Love These Artists


a treasure trove of fine art from the world's most renowned artists, galleries, museums and cultural institutions. We offer exclusive works you can't find anywhere else.


through exclusive content featuring art news, collecting guides, and interviews with artists, dealers, collectors, curators and influencers.


authentic artworks from across the globe. Collecting with us means you're helping to sustain creative culture and supporting organizations that are making the world a better place.


with our art advisors for buying advice or to help you find the art that's perfect for you. We have the resources to find works that suit your needs.


Artspace offers you authentic, exclusive works from world-renowned artists, galleries, museums and cultural institutions. Collecting with us helps support creative culture while bringing you art news, interviews and access to global art resources.