Apollo Magazine

Artist of the Year

Frank Bowling

The first major show of his work in the UK, a survey of Bowling’s 60-year career at Tate Britain was long-overdue recognition of the 85-year-old Guyana-born British painter’s output. (It follows another solo exhibition, curated by Okwui Enwezor, which had stops in Munich, Dublin and Sharjah.) To coincide with the display at the Tate, Hales Gallery in London also put on a show of Bowling’s paintings.

Photo: © Alastair Levy

Judy Chicago

Her 80th birthday year has been a busy one for Chicago – with the tail end of a career retrospective at ICA Miami, followed by an exhibition of her most recent project, The End: A Meditation on Death and Extinction (2012–18) at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C. The latter has travelled to BALTIC, Gateshead, as part of the first major UK survey of her work.

Photo: Ye Rin Mok

Bruce Nauman

An entire floor of MoMA and the whole of MoMA PS1 were given over to Nauman’s large installations and sculptures early in the year. This was followed by a show of nearly 100 works, spanning his 60-year career, at Museo Picasso Málaga. The first major exhibition of his work in London for more than two decades will open at Tate Modern next autumn.

Courtesy Konrad Fischer Galerie

Albert Oehlen

This year began with the final days of the German painter’s largest solo show in Italy so far, at the Palazzo Grassi in Venice. The first outing for a new installation responding to the Rothko Chapel in Houston, Texas, forms part of an exhibition which opened at the Serpentine Gallery this autumn, which includes works dating from the 1980s to the present day.

Photo: Oliver Schultz-Berndt

Michael Rakowitz

Rakowitz’s commission for the Fourth Plinth, Trafalgar Square, is part of an ongoing project in which the Iraqi-American artist reconstructs looted or damaged monuments with food packag-ing; several featured in his show at the Whitechapel Gallery this summer. Rakowitz declined to participate in the 2019 Whitney Biennial in protest against the ‘toxic philanthropy’ of the museum’s vice chairman.

Photo: John Nguyen/PA Wire; courtesy Whitechapel Gallery

Betye Saar

Major solo exhibitions of Saar’s work have opened this autumn at MoMA, New York – in the museum’s new galleries – and LACMA, Los Angeles (where the 93-year-old artist was also honoured at the annual Art+Film Gala). The title of the show at MoMA is taken from Black Girl’s Window (1969), the best known of Saar’s stereotype-busting assemblages.

Photo: David Sprague; courtesy the artist and Roberts Projects, New York

The Shortlists | Acquisition of the Year | Book of the Year | Digital Innovation of the Year | Exhibition of the Year | Museum Opening of the Year

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