Sir Frank Bowling will be awarded the 2022 Wolfgang Hahn Prize by Gesellschaft für Moderne Kunst on November 15, 2022. Thanks to the artist’s generosity, the event also marks the first acquisition of one of his works for a public collection in Germany, as Bowling’s painting Flogging the Dead Donkey (2020) becomes part of the Museum Ludwig collection.
Flogging the Dead Donkey will be shown in a presentation at Museum Ludwig from November 16, 2022 to February 12, 2023. Also on display will be a print derived from the drip edge of the painting, along with archival materials and writings that highlight Bowling’s diverse engagement with art as an artist and writer. A new film by Sacha Bowling which combines photographic and film footage from throughout his artistic career with an interview between the artist and writer and critic Mel Gooding, will also be on view.
The title Flogging the Dead Donkey is an ironic statement by the artist about his preoccupation with abstract painting. Bowling’s interest in abstraction began in 1966, during his early years in New York when he encountered the works of Ad Reinhardt, Barnett Newman, Clyfford Still, Marcia Hafif, and Mark Rothko, all of whom experimented with monochrome painting and its variants. The overall composition of Bowling’s painting is an homage to this earlier generations of colorists, and illustrates his ongoing engagement with monochrome painting. From the complexity of the surface textures and the extraordinary intensity of the red tones, as well as the subtle flashes of other colors and remnants of gold pigments, this late work gives life to his maxim that “the possibilities of color are infinite.”