San Francisco, CA
Frank Stella: A Retrospective is the first comprehensive US exhibition of the artist’s work since 1970. In 1959, at the age of 23, Stella (b. 1936) burst onto the New York art scene as an already mature artist with his now-legendary series of black paintings, which served as a pictorial manifesto of the artist’s assertion that a painting was “a flat surface with paint on it — nothing more.”
Though his early abstract works were influenced by, and thus seemed to share kinship with, the emerging Minimalist art movement, in the ensuing decades Stella’s compositions became increasingly complex and dynamic. These works expanded painting beyond its traditional definition by conflating it with sculpture, a medium in which he became increasingly interested.
Curated by Michael Auping, chief curator of the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, the exhibition is co-organized with the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. At the de Young, the installation will feature approximately 50 large-scale works, including paintings, wall-mounted reliefs, and three-dimensional sculptures. The exhibition design will highlight the transitions that connect aspects of this diverse body of work, acknowledging the artist’s different phases but positing them as pieces of a coherent whole.
Exhibition overview from museum website
Whether or not you go, the exhibition catalog, Frank Stella: A Retrospective presents a retrospective study of Frank Stella (b. 1936), one of the most important figures in 20th-century American art. The book’s spectacular plate section comprises more than 100 works, including paintings, sculptures, reliefs, and works on paper. Notable inclusions are his seminal Black Paintings, recent high-relief aluminum works, and a selection of drawings, maquettes, and digital renderings—many of which are reproduced here for the first time—that offer fresh insight into Stella’s thinking and process.