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Wed, 06/08/2022 – 17:33
United States, 1926–2019, also active France
Acrylic on canvas
Purchased with funds provided by Allison and Larry Berg, Patrick and Diana Priestner, Green Family Art Foundation, Courtesy of Adam Green Art Advisors and an anonymous donor
In his 2014 interview for Bomb Magazine’s Oral History Project series, Ed Clark commented on the connection of jazz and abstraction , “I know one thing. When I’d go to that Five Spot [Cooper Square on the Bowery in New York] and see Thelonius Monk, I knew he was a genius. And a lot of artists went there, Pollock and what not. We’d go there and that’s genius.” With so many brilliant minds mingling within its walls from the mid-1950s into the late 1960s, the Five Spot Café was an epicenter of emerging artistic energy. The writer LeRoi Jones (later known as Amiri Baraka) called the Five Spot “the center of the jazz world” and would often write about the sonic innovations exploding from this jazz hub, including Thelonious Monk’s 1958 performance that yielded “Epistrophy.” Since Ed Clark was a close friend of LeRoi Jones, it’s not a stretch to think that the two might have been in the audience when this very song was recorded. Clark and Jones continued their cultural explorations together and in July of 1960, the same year Clark painted Untitled, they traveled to Fidel’s Cuba on a highly inspiring trip with nine other intellectuals, artists, and activists