By Mary Schmidt-Campbell,
Exhibition catalogue of Ed Clark' first Museum Retrospective,
The Studio Museum in Harlem, 1980.
The paintings of Ed Clark have become a vital part of the development of American abstract art. But his role is rarely mentioned, even though the story of the development of The New York School has been told and retold many times. In the years following World War II, a small group of artists weary all the social realism of the WPA year began to explore the possibilities of abstract art.
The names of those pioneers have become familiar in the annals of American Art . . . If the artists are familiar, so too are the communities they formed and the favored places they frequented: the Five Spot, the Cedar Bar, the Club, Betty Parsons Gallery, the Kootz Gallery, and later, the Tenth Street cooperative galleries . . . But always, the presence of Black American artists have been ignored. Norman Lewis at The Club, Romare Bearden at the Kootz Gallery, and Ed Clark at Brata, a Tenth Street cooperative. These artists were known; their art was known; yet there is precious little trace of that presence in historical surveys.