Photo: Jason Schmidt/CLM
Mogul of Modernism
At a recent Armory Show, many were enthralled by a pair of steel wall-mounted sculptures, K.484 (test piece or version 2) and K.485. Some wondered aloud about the new, emerging artist who had completed the work and were surprised to learn that these sculptures were crafted by the well-known Frank Stella. Stella became famous in the art world for his geometric and challenging works. A key figure in Modernism, Stella’s works helped give raise to movements such as Minimalism and Color Field.
In 1964, Stella said that “what you see is what you see.” The common theme throughout Stella’s career has been on non-representational painting. In 1959, Stella caught the attention of many with his deceptively simple paintings of black stripes. The focus on form challenged the primal energy of Abstract Expressionist and caused many to question the nature of form and subject. These works are the celebration of flat space and the rules of geometry. There is no abstract subject or theme, nor is there anything that represents everyday life. The only narrative is the relationships between shape and color. The cold and impersonal brought forward ideas of art as an object, not as a reflection.
As Stella’s career progressed, he explored this theme further. He incorporated the third dimension by having objects pop out of the canvas. In his Copper Paintings series, he utilized unusually shaped canvases to play with notions and expectations of art. He viewed painting as being no different from sculpture, stating that a sculpture is merely a three-dimensional painting. This led to the very easy transition into becoming a sculptor as well as painter.
Stella is not merely confined to art’s past. It is clear that this renowned artist has many new visions to share with the world. Today, he is still creating stimulating and engaging works. His early works are highly prized by collectors and he is breaking his record for sales at auction. The Whitney Museum plans to exhibit a retrospective of Frank Stella’s work in 2015/2016. It is exciting to see that one of the original voices of Minimalism is continuing to evolve, grow, and challenge the way we view art.
Kenny Ackerman is an Art Dealer in New York, specializing in Fine Art Paintings from 19th-21st century Europe and America. We are actively looking to buy original works by Frank Stella. Contact Ackerman’s Fine Art here.