Betye Saar will be awarded the twenty-sixth Wolfgang Hahn Prize from the Gesellschaft für Moderne Kunst. For more than fifty years, Betye Saar has created assemblages from a wide variety of found objects, which she combines with drawing, prints, painting, and photography.
This recognition of Betye Saar, who was born in Los Angeles in 1926 and is still little known in Germany, is highly timely!
With the Wolfgang Hahn Prize, the Gesellschaft für Moderne Kunst honours exceptional contemporary artists on an annual basis. The prize money of maximum 100.000 euros goes to the acquisition of a work or group of works by the artist for the collection of the Museum Ludwig. The award winners are also honoured with an exhibition in the museum, accompanied by a publication.
The jury consisting of Yilmaz Dziewior, director of the Museum Ludwig; Christophe Cherix, Robert Lehman Foundation chief curator of drawings and prints at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York; and the board members of the association.
Guest juror Christophe Cherix on Betye Saar: “Betye Saar’s work occupies a pivotal position in American art. Her assemblages from the 1960s and early 1970 sinterweave issues of race, politics, and supernatural belief systems with her personal history. Having grown up in a racially segregated society, Saar has long held that art can transcend our darkest moments and deepest fears. Today, the emergence of a new generation of artists mining her poignant legacy attests to how profoundly Saar has changed the course of American art. The 2020 Wolfgang Hahn Prize not only acknowledges her extraordinary achievements and influence, but also recognizes the need to revisit how the history of art in recent decades has been written.”
The name of the award honours the memory of the Cologne-based collector and painting conservator Wolfgang Hahn (1924–1987), who was committed on many levels to the art of the European and American Avant-Garde in Cologne. We continue to foster the spirit of his exemplary dedication as a collector, a founding member of our organisation, and head of the museum’s conservation workshops.