Michael McClard arrived in New York in 1973 with a BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute, where he also won a Peabody Award in Sculpture. He soon made his mark on the art scene as a member of a highly original group of young artists who helped to revive an interest in painting and visual performance. He was a founding member of the noted artists’support group Colab and its first president.

 

Sidestepping the confines of abstract conceptual art, McClard’s work seethes with figurative content; yet it has nevertheless retained a conceptual element and mines a strong vein of humor.

 

During the 70s he staged provocative performances such as “Foes v. Foes” at the Kitchen and surreal, carnivalesque installations at venues such as the Clocktower (“There’s Meat on these Bones”); PS 1, Institute for Art and Urban Resources, De Appel, Amersterdam and N.A.M.E Gallery, Chicago. For these presentations, he constructed all sets and props and performed, often as sole actor. His one-act play, “Mumbo Jumbo,” was published in Avalanche 12, Winter 1975.

 

In October 1981, his first large-scale one-man show of paintings and frescoes took place at Mary Boone, occupying both galleries on either side of West Broadway. Drawing on sources from mythology, history and everyday life, he created a pantheon of imaginary characters, notable for their tactile raw energy, range of facial expressiveness and astute power of observation. Also featured were inventive depictions of historical scenes, acclaimed by critics such as Grace Glueck of the New York Times for their verve and by Hal Foster of
Art in America for their metaphysical insights. Many of these works were acquired by New York and Los Angeles public and private collectors. During this period McClard was also awarded two fellowships by the National Endowment for the Arts, in Visual Arts and Mixed Media.

 

In the 90s McClard took a temporary hiatus from painting to explore new media. He embraced the digital revolution and applied his draughtsmanship skills to the creation of original software with his brother Peter McClard through their enterprise, Hologramophone Research. The computer installation “DNA Characters” extended his interest in human physiognomy by generating an unlimited sequence of drawings of faces and was exhibited in “A visage découvert,” Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain, Jouy-en Josas, France.

 

Among the many group shows in which his paintings and objets d’art have been featured are “Figures of Mystery”, Queens Museum, NY; “The Pressure to Paint”, Marlborough Gallery, NY; “TV’s IN”, Max Fish, New York, and The Barry Lowen Collection, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA.

 

More recently, McClard’s experimental short films Alien Portrait (1978) and Contortions (1978) were given their world premiere at “No Wave Cinema, 1978-87” at the Whitney Museum of American Art.

 

Education:

BFA, San Francisco Art Institute in 1971, moved to New York 1973


Two National Endowment of the Arts Fellowships, one in Multi Media, the other, as a Visual Artist.

REVIEW QUOTES FOR MICHAEL McCLARD

 

“. . .An oddball but wonderful choice, for example, is Michael McClard’s ‘’Mise en Scene (circa 1500),’’ a painting based on the life of Michelangelo. Built out from the picture plane with thick plaster slabs and painted frescolike in rich colors that bring an old-master palette into the 20th century, it depicts Michelangelo in his cathedral workroom, wearing a funnel hat with a candle in it, leaning intently over a scabrous cadaver. At once affecting and funny in its comment on the profession of artist, it’s brought off with great verve.”

 

Grace Glueck, “Figures of Mystery,” The New York Times, Jan 7 1983 Participating artists included Susan Rothenberg and Eric Fischl.

 

 

“. . . All in all the show was a bizarre delight. . .Post-minimalist artists often used materials that were somehow tabooed, but McClard’s art is funnier than theirs. It is also more ambitious in content: the show ranged from shit to Saturn, from grotesques to Christs. Here was an art with a cosmology—the universe as delusion of grandeur. . .But the delusion seemed to know itself as such . . .

 

“. . .The clown, the circus, are also part of the iconography of painting . . . Artists like Schnabel and Clemente pretend to paint the great carnival of time, only to fall back on an old clown act. McClard, at least, shows signs that he knows his act for what it is . . .”

 

Hal Foster, “Michael McClard at Mary Boone,” Art in America, December 1981

Solo Exhibitions:

1988 “Things”, Willoughby Sharp Gallery, N.Y. NY

1987 Suzan Cooper Gallery, N.Y. NY
86 Simon Cerigo Gallery, N.Y. NY

1985 Curated by Atanasio Di Felice, Harm Bouckaert Gallery, N.Y. NY

1982 American Graffiti Gallery, Amsterdam NE
81 Mary Boone Gallery, N.Y. NY

1977 Konrad Fischer Tunnel Space, Dusseldorf, W. Germany

“Trial by T.V.”, Hallwalls, Buffalo, N.Y. NY 1975

1975 “There’s Meat on These Bones”, The Clocktower, Institute for Art and Urban Resources, N.Y. NY

Group Exhibitions:

2007 The Downtown Show: The New York Art Scene, 1974–1984 (Broken Stories), curated by Carlo

McCormick, New York, NY

1997 “Last Party,” Serge Sorokko Gallery, New York, NY

1996 “No Wave Cinema 1978–81,” Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY

1993 “A visage découvert” Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain, Jouy-en Josas, France

1990 “Aquarian Artists,” Fine Arts Center, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI.

“TV’s IN” Max Fish, N.Y. NY

1989 “Prisoners of Art,” Police Building, N.Y. NY

1988 “Micro sculpture” Fine Arts Center, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, R.I.

“Rebop”, curated by Glen O’brien, Paula Allan Gallery, N.Y. NY

1986 “The Bary Lowen Collection”, MOCA’s Temporary Contemporary, Los Angeles, CA

Simon Cerigo Gallery, N.Y. NY
Benefit for the Poetry Project at St. Marks Church, N.Y. NY

1984 “Hundreds of Drawings”, Artists Space Benefit, N.Y. NY
“Bomb Magazine Benefit”, Blum-Helman Warehouse, N.Y. NY Art Palace, N.Y. NY

“Sex Show”, Cable Gallery, N.Y. NY

1983 “Prints and Drawings for Collectors”, New Gallery of Contemporary Art, Cleveland, OH

1983 “Terminal New York,” AAA Art, N.Y. NY

“Intoxication,” Monique Knowlton Gallery, N.Y. NY “Sweet Art”, Ronald Feldman Gallery, N.Y. NY

“The Pressure to Paint” Marlborough Gallery, N.Y. NY
“Figures of Mystery”, Queens Museum, Queens, N.Y.
“Beast: Animal Imagery in Recent Painting”, PS1, Institute for Art and Urban Resources, L I C, NY “New Figuration in America”, Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, Wis.

1982 “Critic’s Choice”, PS 1, Institute for Art and Urban Resources, Long Island City, NY

1981 “New York: New Wave,” PS 1, Institute for Art an Urban Resources, Long Island City, NY

“Gallery Artists” Mary Boone Gallery, N.Y. NY

1979 “Bat Man Show”, 591 Broadway, N.Y. NY
“The Doctors and Dentists Show, 591 Broadway, N.Y. NY “Income and Wealth Show”, 5 Bleeker Street, N.Y. NY

1978 “Exhibit A”, 93 Grand Street, N.Y. NY 1977
“New Art Auction and Exhibition”, Artists Space, N.Y. NY

1976 “Ten in Situ”, Colgate College, Hamilton, N.Y.

1975 “Continuing Work in Various Media” 597 Broadway, N.Y. NY

1970 “Young Bay Area Sculptors”, Emanuel Walter Gallery, San Francisco, CA

 

Glueck, Grace, ”Art: One Man’s Biennial Assembles 102 Artists,“ The New York Times, 15 April 1983

Mouferage, Nicolas, ”Intoxication, 9 April 1983,“ arts Magazine, April 1983 Preston, ”Art Review: Mystery in Queens,“ Newsday, 7 January 1983

Glueck, Grace, ”Art: ’Figures of Mystery‘ Shows New Work By 10,“ The New York Times, 7 January 1983

Sussler, Betsy, ”Michael McClard Interview“ Bomb Magazine, No.4, January 1983

Glueck, Grace, ”Of Beasts and Humans: Some Contemporary Views,“ The New York Times, 14 November 1982

Wolf, Deborah, ”Mary Boone“ Avenue, October 1982

Price, Katherine, ”Arte USA,“ Nouvi Argomenti, August-September 1982

Silverthorne, Jeannie, ”The Pressure to Paint,“ Artforum, October 1982

Wolfert-Wihlborg, Lee, ”Manhattan’s Avant-Garde Art Dealers,“

Town and Country, September 1982 (photo of ”Los Alomos,” p. 250)

Foster, Hal, ”Between Modernism and the Media,“ Art in America, Summer 1982

Smith, Roberta, ”Group Flex,“ The Village Voice, 22 June 1982

De Ak, Edit and Cortez, Diego ”Baby Talk,“ Flash Art, May 1982

Haden-Guest, Anthony, ”The New Queen of the Art Scene,“ New York Magazine, 19 April 1982

Castle, Ted, ”Michael McClard’s Faces,“ Artforum, January 1982

Yoskowitz, Robert, ”Michael McClard,“ Arts Magazime, December 1981

Acker,Kathy, ”Motive: Interview with Michael McClard“ Bomb Magazine, No.1, January 1981

Rose, Frank, ”Exploring the Art-Rock Nexus, (Part III)“ Artexpress, November 1981 (photo of ”Someone“ and ”Somebody“)

Foster, Hal, ”Michael McClard at Mary Boone,“ Art in America, December 1981 (photo of ”The Devil Goes to the Circus“)

Larson, Kay, ”Fear of Style,“ New York Magazine, 9 November 1981 Smith, Roberta, ”Space Walk,“ The Village Voice, 21 October 1981 Goldberg, Rosalee, Studio International, January 1977
Perron, Wendy, The SOHO News, 15 May 1976

Frank, Peter, The SOHO News, 15 January 1976 Moore, Alan, Artforum, Summer 1975

REVIEW QUOTES FOR MICHAEL McCLARD

“. . .An oddball but wonderful choice, for example, is Michael McClard’s ‘’Mise en Scene (circa 1500),’’ a painting based on the life of Michelangelo. Built out from the picture plane with thick plaster slabs and painted frescolike in rich colors that bring an old-master palette into the 20th century, it depicts Michelangelo in his cathedral workroom, wearing a funnel hat with a candle in it, leaning intently over a scabrous cadaver. At once affecting and funny in its comment on the profession of artist, it’s brought off with great verve.”

Grace Glueck, “Figures of Mystery,” The New York Times, Jan 7 1983 Participating artists included Susan Rothenberg and Eric Fischl.

“. . . All in all the show was a bizarre delight. . .Post-minimalist artists often used materials that were somehow tabooed, but McClard’s art is funnier than theirs. It is also more ambitious in content: the show ranged from shit to Saturn, from grotesques to Christs. Here was an art with a cosmology—the universe as delusion of grandeur. . .But the delusion seemed to know itself as such . . .

“. . .The clown, the circus, are also part of the iconography of painting . . . Artists like Schnabel and Clemente pretend to paint the great carnival of time, only to fall back on an old clown act. McClard, at least, shows signs that he knows his act for what it is . . .”

Hal Foster, “Michael McClard at Mary Boone,” Art in America, December 1981

 

1979 ”Axel Radius,“Corpes de Garde, Gronigen; De Appel, Amsterdam, Holland

1977 ”Plan K,“N.A.M.E. Gallery,Chicago Illinois
”Comedy of Pain (The Telephone Rings),“ SUNY at Buffalo, Ny

1976 ”Clamor Clobber Comb,“ Artists Space, N.Y. NY ”Temperate Tantrum,“ 17 White Street, N.Y. NY ”Merely Hearsay,“17 White Street, N.Y. NY

1975 ”Foes v. Foes (A Christmas spectacle),“ The Kitchen, N.Y. NY ”There’s Meat on These Bones,“ The Clocktower, N.Y. NY

1972 ”Moth, Flame, Phoenix (Airplane with television),“ 3675 Clementina Street, San Francisco, CA

1983-7 School of Visual Arts, N.Y. NY, foundation drawing

1987 San Francisco Art Institute, SF, California, advanced painting

1986 Parsons School of Design, N.Y. NY, advertising design

 

Categories: artists

Tags: