FRANK STELLA’S WHITNEY
By Elizabeth Patterson
Frank Stella doesn’t need to be rejuvenated. Known for being a trailblazer of minimal art and abstract expressionism, Stella has been at the top of his game since he first arrived on the scene. The renowned artist never fell out of style, but that doesn’t mean we can’t all appreciate his artworks when they go on display in a first ever retrospective-exhibition at the new Whitney.
Stella is perhaps best known for his colorful, bold line works, which focused on the simple rather than the complex. He was heralded for the straightforwardness of his work in an age where his contemporaries were dead-set on incorporating cultural references or underlying meanings in their creations. Stella’s soothing works like “Harran II” or “Ctesiphon I” shot him to stardom as a key figure in both minimalism and abstract expression.
It was perhaps a bit of a surprise when Stella moved beyond his classic and clean line paintings to dimensional reliefs. His explosive works retain his earlier elements of color as a primary subject, but morphed into tangible artworks that command even more attention than his paintings. Though they are three dimensional works, Stella liked to play with the idea of dimensionality, often times presenting 2-D drawings meant to look 3-D, like cylinders that appear to leap put at the viewer, though on closer inspection they reveal themselves to be flat. Aluminum was often the base material for these works, though Stella never strayed far from his beloved paints. In more recent works, he has even ventured into full-blown sculptures, like “Memantra”, which was presented in 2005.
Few living artists have had a career as illustrious or spanning as many mediums as Frank Stella. Though it will be no easy feat to compress more than 60 years of work (including work from the present day) into one retrospective, the end result will no doubt be a sight to see, and a true testament to Stella’s enduring legacy.
The retrospective also marks a momentous occasion for the Whitney – it is the first retrospective being hosted at their new location in Chelsea. Don’t miss the chance to experience both Frank Stella’s incredible artwork and the new Renzo Piano-designed Whitney when the retrospective opens on October 30th. It will run through February 7, 2016.