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Museum Folkwang receives 50,000 EUR Tiemann Prize for the purchase of works by the painter Armin Boehm

Editors’ Choice

The Museum Folkwang in Essen is the first public institution in Germany to receive the Tiemann Prize. It was able to convince with its application for a group of works by the Berlin-based painter Armin Boehm (*1972) and will receive the purchase budget of 50,000 euros on 3 November 2023 at a ceremony in the presence of the artist and the donor couple Tiemann at the Museum Folkwang in Essen. The newly established award is aimed directly at museums and art institutions and enables the expansion of the respective collection through the purchase of contemporary painting. Shortly after the announcement of the jury’s decision, an artist talk with Armin Boehm will take place on 7 September 2023 as part of the VERMEER CONTEMPORARY exhibition in Berlin (see below for date), in which Boehm is participating with a work.

Image above: Armin Boehm, Monetocene, 2017, oil and fabric on canvas, 170 x 180 cm © Lepkowski Studios Berlin

The jury was convinced by the museum’s wish to include four works by Armin Boehm in its collection. With his painted social allegories, Boehm takes up the genre that artists such as Max Beckmann, George Grosz and Otto Dix have significantly influenced. Through the acquisition of Armin Boehm’s representative group of works, the Museum Folkwang is expanding its collection, which has a focus on Expressionism and related artistic positions of the 1920s and 1930s, among other things, and at the same time continuing the expansion of the collection with important groups of painterly works of post-war and contemporary art in an impressive and contemporary manner. Since the museum has been presenting its collection by theme rather than chronologically since 2019, Armin Boehm’s works will in future be on display in the direct vicinity of related 20th century exhibits.

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Artist portrait of Armin Boehm, Photo: Sang Tae Kim © Armin Boehm

“Boehm’s paintings are dedicated to the conflicts and distortions of current (Western) societies, with a particular focus on the power of social media. He transfers the subjects of memes, hate images and activist image formats into an oil painting enriched with textile elements, combining them in a way that is as virtuosic as it is provocative, thus delivering a panopticon of motifs of political ideologisation and radicalisation. Apocalyptic fears and nocturnal thoughts characterise the mood of Boehm’s paintings no differently than those of his models from the last century,” reads the expert jury’s statement.

The Jury
The expert jury for the Tiemann Prize 2023 this year consisted of:
Dr. Anette Hüsch, Director, Kunsthalle zu Kiel
Dr. Ingrid Pfeiffer, Curator, Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt am Main
Prof. Dr. Annette Tietenberg, Professor of Art Studies, HBK, Braunschweig
Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, art historian and author, Leipzig/Munich
Marcus Woeller, editor and author, Berlin

Armin Boehm, Hibiscus Red, 2020-21, oil and fabric on canvas, 85 x 80 cm © Lepkowski Studios Berlin

The group of works by artist Armin Boehm submitted by the Museum Folkwang for the Tiemann Prize 2023 consists of a total of four paintings, at the centre of which is the large-format painting Monetocene (2017), an allegory of our globalised, turbo-capitalist age. The painting is about the pitiless exploitation of human beings in a system of money, oil and war that is depicted as mechanised. The picture is inspired by the film “Metropolis” by Fritz Lang. Against the backdrop of a burning desert city, the headquarters of an oil company and the Holocaust memorial, grotesque figures play a dubious card game with the likenesses of dictators. The book “Blood Diamonds” lies on the table, the card players sitting around it with their hybrid faces are reminiscent of robots from pop & film culture as well as well-known personalities such as Theresa May, George Soros, Vladimir Putin, Mohammed bin Salman al-Saud, Barack Obama or the Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who has a sprawling brain with the eye of the supercomputer HAL.

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Armin Boehm, Sils Maria (Friedrich Nietzsche), 2022, Öl und Stoff auf Leinwand, 50 x 50 cm © Lepkowski Studios Berlin

The central painting is complemented by three other works: The two portraits Sils Maria (Friedrich Nietzsche) and Climate change (Greta Thunberg), from a current series of 2022, show celebrities and personalities of Western intellectual history, depicted as humorous memes that have their origins in the American comic figure “Pepe the Frog”. The painting Hibiscus Red (2020/21) represents the artist’s longstanding exploration of the still life motif. All the selected works combine Armin Boehm’s characteristic collage technique of oil painting and textile elements. From 3 November, the museum will present the four paintings to the public for the first time and dedicate a separate collection room to the main work Monetocene.

The artist
Armin Boehm, born in Aachen in 1972, lives and works in Berlin. Boehm attended the art academies in Münster and Düsseldorf, where he was a student of Konrad Klapheck and a master student of Jörg Immendorff until 2001. He received scholarships from the Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes and the Staatliche Kunstakademie Düsseldorf for the Cité Internationale des Arts Paris. Boehm is represented nationwide and abroad in renowned galleries with solo and group exhibitions.

The Museum Folkwang
Unique works by Cézanne and Gauguin meet works by Dix, Grosz, Rothko and Richter: the Museum Folkwang is one of Germany’s most renowned art museums with an outstanding collection of 19th century painting and sculpture, classical modernism and art after 1945, as well as photography. As the first German art museum of this size, the Museum Folkwang grants all visitors free admission to the collection.

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Museum Folkwang, Ansicht Eingangsbereich © Museum Folkwang, Foto: Giorgio Pastore

Under the title “New Worlds”, the tradition-rich collection presents itself from a surprising perspective: painting meets photography, sculpture or graphic art and enters into inspiring constellations with world art and posters. In this way, favourite works enter into dialogue with as yet unknown objects. The 24 exhibition rooms are arranged across media and epochs and combine to offer visitors a stimulating walk from the beginnings of the collection with major works by Rodin and van Gogh, through the German Expressionists, to the present day with works by Katharina Sieverding or Eliza Douglas.

The Tiemann-Stiftung (Tiemann Foundation)
The Ingeborg and Dr. H. Jürgen Tiemann Foundation will award the Tiemann Prize, endowed with 50,000 euros, for the first time in 2023. The prize is aimed at museums and art institutions that have their own collection of contemporary art. The prize, which is offered nationwide, makes it possible to expand the respective collection by purchasing a work or group of works from the field of painting. It is thus intended to make a significant contribution to the current art discourse and to make outstanding painterly positions permanently accessible to the public.

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Ingeborg and Dr. H. Jürgen Tiemann, Portrait © Ingeborg und Dr. H. Jürgen Tiemann-Stiftung

The Ingeborg and Dr. H. Jürgen Tiemann Foundation was established in 2018 and, in addition to the newly launched initiative for the promotion of contemporary painting, is involved in the fields of education, monument preservation, nature conservation and music. Under the name “Tiemann Foundation”, funds are awarded at the German National Academic Foundation within the framework of research projects. In the field of monument preservation and nature conservation, the Tiemann Foundation is active in financing restorations and supports, among others, the Verein Freunde Preußischer Schlösser und Gärten e.V. and the Berlin City Palace. Furthermore, the Tiemann Foundation is an important partner of the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Festival.


Artist Talk Armin Boehm

Artist-Talk with the artist Armin Boehm (*1972 in Aachen) and publicist Sebastian C. Strenger in the context of the exhibition VERMEER CONTEMPORARY


Thursday, 07 September 2023, 7.30 pm


CSR.ART, Friedrichstraße 69, 10117 Berlin

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