Awards News

Betye Saar to Receive Wolfgang Hahn Prize 2020

Betye Saar will be awarded the twenty-sixth Wolfgang Hahn Prize from the Gesellschaft für Moderne Kunst. Saar was naminated by a 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 board members of the association.

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.For more than twenty-five years,the association has been awarding the Wolfgang Hahn Prizeand has acquired a work or group of works by the prize winners. “Here the idea of civic participation comes together with the desire to support the museum’s vision for the future”, says chairwoman Mayen Beckmann. “We are delighted to honor Betye Saar, an artist whose great work is rooted in American art. She will add a previously missing, central position to the collection of the Museum Ludwig, in which many American artists are represented. In her wide-ranging oeuvre — which draws from shamanistic, religious, and philosophical sources, is composed of found items, and is politically motivated by ‘black feminism’ — she takes us into her own world, which oscillates between dream, memory and experience.”

Dr. Yilmaz Dziewior, director of the Museum Ludwig: “We are very pleased that we will soon have the work of this pioneering African-American artist in our collection. In the United States, Betye Saar has long been known to art enthusiasts. Today institutions such as MoMA in New York and the Los Angeles County Museum devote high-profile solo exhibitions to her. In Europe, by contrast, her work is still far too little known. It is our stated goal to change this and finally give the artist the attention she deserves”.

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 1970s interweave 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”.

About Betye Saar

Betye Saar has lived and worked in Laurel Canyon, Los Angeles, for over fifty years. Since 1961 she has had countless exhibitions, especially in the United States. Her early important solo exhibitions include Black Girl’s Window at the Berkeley Art Center in California (1972) and Betye Saar at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York (1975). Saar’s latest solo exhibitions in the United States opened in autumn 2019: Betye Saar: Call and Response at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Betye Saar: The Legends of Black Girl’s Window at MoMA. The Museum De Domijnenin the Netherlands presented her first solo exhibition in Europe (2015), followed one year later by the retrospective Uneasy Dancer at the Fondazione Prada in Milan. Saar has been awarded six honorary doctorates and has received multiple lifetime achievement awards.

Image: Courtesy the artist and Roberts Projects Los Angeles, Photo: David Sprague

Source: Gesellschaft für Moderne Kunst am Museum Ludwig

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