If you’re lucky enough to be in New York between now and February 7, you’ll be able to see the Frank Stella retrospective at the new Whitney Museum of American Art. If you can’t make it to Manhattan, just keep reading and we’ll tell you how you can see the exhibit without leaving home.
This show is not Stella’s first rodeo. In 1970, at the age of 33, Stella was the youngest artist ever to have a retrospective at MoMA. His second MoMA retrospective was in 1987. Now, at age 79, Stella is the first artist to have a one-person retrospective at the new Whitney.
About sixty pieces of Stella’s work, work that he’s made over a period of nearly sixty years, are on display in the Whitney’s large, fifth floor gallery.
A far cry from his early, reductive, minimal black paintings, that catapulted Stella to fame in the art world, many of the works are wild with color, texture and depth. Some of the pieces are sculptural and architectural. Some look like Stella need only to add an engine and they could take off. Part of the fun for us, at Vertu, is seeing some of the works at the Whitney and similar works that are in our gallery.
When visitors enter the Whitney, they’re presented with the 40 foot long by 12 foot high acrylic on canvas, Das Erdbeben in Chili, done in 1999. (The translation is, The Earthquake in Chili).
Before Das Erdbeben, Stella did a relief etching and aquatint called Egyplosis Relief. Although much smaller in scale, this 1996 work is a glimpse into where the artist was going with the relief work. Best of all, Egyplosis Relief is in our gallery at the present time, and at just 31.5 inches square, you don’t need a 40 foot wall for hanging.
Just to the left of Das Erdbeben in Chili is Pratfall, a ten-foot-square acrylic painting that Stella created in 1974.
Before Pratfall there was Sharpesville. It’s not ten-feet-square, but a 16 X 22 inch offset lithograph, created in 1973, with the same feel as the larger work and is available in our gallery.
Of course, the retrospective includes some of Stella’s black paintings, like, Jill, from 1959.
We’ve got Black Stack in our gallery, a lithograph created in 1970, the year of Stella’s first retrospective at MoMA.
What I see my job as is showing people what the real art world is …”
To get a tour of the retrospective from the comfort of home, you can follow James Kalm, a Brooklyn artist who takes his video camera to gallery openings around New York, for those of us who can’t make the trip:
The diversity of Stella’s work, over his 57-year-career, is apparent when viewing this retrospective. It also gave us, here at Vertu, an even greater appreciation of the variety of Frank Stella’s work that is in our gallery.