Born in British Guiana (now Guyana) in 1936, a resident of London in the 1950s, and dividing his time between London and New York since the late 1960s, Frank Bowling is one of the foremost artists of his generation. As a pioneer of abstraction during the 1960s, his work as both a painter and critic for the New York–based Arts Magazine is of singular importance to the historiography of the visual culture of the “black Atlantic.” In particular, the six articles he wrote for the magazine between 1969 and 1971, in which he meditated on the notion of “black art,” reveal the ambivalent complexities that inform his aesthetic practices as both theorist and painter, or what Kobena Mercer has aptly referred to as Bowling's “discrepant abstraction.” The nature of the “discrepancies” in Bowling's work is the focus of this essay.

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