Laurie Beth Clark

Last Name: 
First Name: 
Laurie Beth

Laurie Beth Clark was raised in New York City. She initially studied painting at Hampshire College and received her B.A. in 1976. She has an M.A. in Visual Arts from the University of New Mexico (1981) and an M.F.A. in Art from Rutgers University (1983). Extensive information about Clark's work can be found at Clark uses art, in the form of large scale multi-media productions, as a tool to investigate social issues and to examine the impact of cultural phenomena on individuals' lives. She works simultaneously in Video, Performance Art, and Installations, often exploring a single issue in a number of formats over a period of several years. Rather than posing solutions to specific problems, her work asks viewers to re-examine their tacit assumptions and values. In each project she allows the content, along with the audience, the site, or the situation, to dictate the materials and the structure of the work. Therefore, she employs a wide variety of techniques. Some ideas are best expressed intimately, through books or mailings, while others must be realized though complex multi-media environments. For the past six years, Clark has been making work in Germany that considers the holocaust alongside other histories of genocide. These include a project for bus shelters, a forest project, and a project for a domestic garden. Other works-in-progress include Veracity, a video about the performance of credibilty and The Everyday Life of Objects, a virtual installation about the persistence of material culture in the electronic age. Clark is also in the initial stages of two new international research projects. One is a comparative study of trauma memorials. Framed by the evolving treatment of the World Trade Center site, this book length study and series of installations consider slave forts in West Africa, concentration camp memorials in Europe, atomic blast memorial peace parks in Japan, and the dispersed commemoration of the American War in Vietnam. The second project is a series of installations about global diversity in shopping environments from sterile supermarkets and department stories in North America and Western Europe to the sensory density of the outdoor and covered market places of much of the rest of the world. Clark's performance work has been seen at such historically significant venues as Franklin Furnace in New York City, Randolph Street Gallery in Chicago, and the Cleveland Public Theater Performance Art Festival. She has installed large-scale projects at the Milwaukee Art Museum, WARM Gallery in Minneapolis, the University of Nebraska, the Elvehjem Museum of Art, and the Madison Art Center and she has produced public projects in gardens and forests in Darmstadt, Germany. Clark's video tapes have been included in festivals and shown on cable stations in California, Florida, Wisconsin, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, New York, and Louisiana, as well as on the national satellite programming of the Deep Dish network. Numerous reviews and profiles of her work have appeared in local, regional, and national publications, including High Performance, New Art Examiner, Artspace, WARM Journal, Art Muscle and on Public Television in Wisconsin. Clark is the recipient of fellowships from the Jerome Foundation, the McKnight Foundation, Arts Midwest Art Matters, the Wisconsin Arts Boards, Madison CitiArts, the Dane County Cultural Affairs Commission and the Graduate School Research Committee of the University of Wisconsin. Clark also held the Emily Mead Baldwin Bell Bascom Professorship of Creative Arts at the University of Wisconsin. She has worked in residence at the Experimental Television Center. Clark has published both written work and artist pages in journals such as Performance Research and Theater Topics and anthologies including and A Performance Cosmology (Routledge, 2006), Place and Performance (Palgrave Macmillan, 2006), The Art of Truthtelling After Authoritarian Rule (University of Wisconsin, 2005), and Guerilla Performance and Multimedia (Continuum, 2001). She frequently presents academic work at universities and conferences including the Association for Theatre in Higher Education, College Art Association, International Federation for Theater Research, and Performance Studies International. In recent years, she has been invited to speak in Brasil, Germany, Ghana, Great Britain, Japan, the Netherlands, and Singapore. Since 1985, Clark has lived in Madison, Wisconsin where she teaches courses in Non-Static Forms including Installation, Performance Art and Video as well as graduate seminars on topics in visual culture. Clark has also served the campus in a number of key administrative roles including Chair of the Art Department, Interim Associate Dean in the School of Education, Director of the Visual Culture Cluster and Vice Provost for Faculty and Staff. Beyond the campus, Clark served as Vice-President of Performance Studies International and Co-Chair of the Visual Culture Caucus for the College Art Association.