Frank Bowling’s Americas: New York, 1966–75
by Reto Thüring (Editor), Akili Tommasino (Editor), Debra Lennard (Editor), Frank Bowling (Artist), Firelei Báez (Contributor), Melvin Edwards (Contributor), Julie Mehretu (Contributor), Kobena Mercer (Contributor), Sarah Roberts (Contributor)
“Modernism belonged to me also.” So resolved the British Guiana–born artist Frank Bowling in 1966, when he moved from his temporary home base of London to New York City, keen to make his mark on modern painting. This volume surveys for the first time the transformative years that Bowling spent in the US from 1966 through 1975, a chapter of extraordinary productivity and artistic growth that would greatly shape his thinking and practice.
Bowling’s relocation to New York brought him into contact with an art scene in flux, with abstract painting on the rise and vigorous debates unfolding around Black cultural identity and artistic practice. Bowling participated in this scene in broad and deep ways, from his unique vantage point as an emigre twice over: exhibiting widely, writing for art magazines, engaging peers in dialogue and, in 1969, organizing 5+1, an exhibition of five leading African American abstract artists plus himself. During these years, his own work explored the tension between representational imagery and fields of color, ultimately moving toward full abstraction.