This fall, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), will debut Frank Bowling’s Americas, the first major survey of the artist’s work by an American institution in more than four decades. Following its presentation in Boston from October 22, 2022–April 9, 2023, the exhibition will travel to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), where it will be on view from May 13–September 10, 2023.
“Modernism belonged to me also.” So resolved the British Guiana-born artist in 1966, when he moved from London to New York City, impelled by ambition to make his mark on modern painting. Bowling’s time in New York, from 1966 to 1975, calls for deeper exploration. His decisive relocation brought him into contact with a vibrant and tumultuous art scene, with abstract painting on an explosive rise, heated debates unfolding around Black cultural identity and artistic practice, and Stokely Carmichael’s slogan “Black Power” emanating from the South. Over the course of the next decade, Bowling wrote copiously for art magazines, held several teaching positions (including at Massachusetts College of Art), exhibited widely (including a solo show at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1971), and in 1969 curated 5+1: an exhibition of five leading African American abstract artists (Melvin Edwards, Daniel LaRue Johnson, Al Loving, Jack Whitten and William T. Williams) plus Bowling himself at Stony Brook University, New York. His experiences in the U.S. catalyzed profound shifts in his painting, explored here through more than 30 works. The exhibition brings together a range of Bowling’s powerful works in the country of their making—from Pop-inflected
paintings from the early 1960s and monumental, color-soaked canvases that evoke oceanic expanses to little-seen examples of the artist’s technically pioneering paintings rooted in abstraction. Providing for the first time a nuanced encounter with this pivotal chapter of Bowling’s career, Frank Bowling’s Americas offers an essential contribution to a more cross-cultural and global understanding of modern art.
The exhibition is accompanied by an illustrated catalogue, Frank Bowling’s Americas: New York 1966–75, produced by MFA Publications, which will be available in October 2022.
“Frank Bowling’s Americas” is generously supported by the Carl and Ruth Shapiro Family Foundation. Additional generous support from and the Henry and Lois Foster Fund for Contemporary Exhibitions. Supported by the Robert and Jane Burke Fund for Exhibitions, the Barbara Jane Anderson Fund, The Museum Council Special Exhibition Fund and The Amy and Jonathan Poorvu Fund for the Exhibition of Contemporary Art and Sculpture.
About the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Founded on February 4, 1870, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), stands on the historic homelands of the Massachusett people, a site which has long served as a place of meeting and exchange among different nations. The Museum opened its doors to the public on July 4, 1876—the nation’s centennial—at its original location in Copley Square. In 1909, the MFA moved to its current home on Huntington Avenue and today, the Museum houses a global collection encompassing nearly 500,000 works of art, from ancient to contemporary.
Open five days a week, the MFA’s hours are Saturday through Monday, 10 am–5 pm; Thursday, 10 am–5 pm; and Friday 10 am–10 pm. The Museum is located at 465 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115. For more information, call 617.267.9300, visit mfa.org or follow the MFA on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
151 Third Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is one of the largest museums of modern and contemporary art in the United States and a thriving cultural center for the Bay Area. Our remarkable collection of painting, sculpture, photography, architecture, design and media arts is housed in a LEED Gold-certified building designed by the global architects Snøhetta and Mario Botta. In addition to our seven gallery floors, SFMOMA offers 45,000 square feet of free, art-filled public space open to all.
Visit sfmoma.org or call 415.357.4000 for more information.