Frank Stella show at Fort Lauderdale

In early 50s Stella was working with monochrome palette, creating "black pictures". Artist interest in the simplicity of geometric forms, helps him to stand out among the second generation of abstract expressionists and state his own voice. Someone mentioned to me that when Stella graduated from Princeton he did not have enough money to buy "proper paint" , thus he invested in black house paint to experiment with it( i don't know how truthful this information is) Delta was the first back painting in the series.

While I was working on it, something wasn’t working out. I don’t remember exactly what it was. And I just got tired of it and so I painted it all out. I followed what was there, but I painted it all out in black. The next day when I was looking at it, it seemed to have a kind of quality―being all black, although there were plenty of color and stuff showing through from between the bands, but the sort of darkness, the blackness, and the repetition of the bands seemed to work.
— Frank Stella
Delta 1958

Delta 1958

The exhibit visually walks the viewer through Stella's artistic interests. There where 2 gigantic  bullet-looking paintings  that instantly got my attention. That piece looks like a full size mural (45 foot long canvas) with curved corners and geometric shapes engraved on the surface of the canvas. Deauville grew out of the artist’s interest in horseracing and is named after a racetrack in Deauville, a French seaside resort on the coast of Normandy. This piece is handed at the auditorium of The New School as an addition school's collection.

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In 1960 Stella traveled to Middle East and inspired by Islamic art he produced a series of work named after ancient cities upon his return to America. For example the ark-looking piece below is called Basra, which is the name of one the four historical city gates of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad. 

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Basra gate I

Barsa is one of the ports from which Sinbad the sailor traveled 

My other personal favourite is Atalanta and Hippomenes . Stella graduated from Princeton with a master degree in history and there is no wonder why many of his works have very deep names. Atalanta and Hippomenes  are names of young lovers from ancient Greek mythology. Atlanta was a beautiful young woman who ran faster than anyone but and the Oracle predicted that her marriage will bring her doom. Thus, Atalanta decided that the the man who marries her should beat her in a footrace or he would be executed. Many men tried to compete with her and all failed until Hippomenes saw the young beauty and made a deal with the goddess of love Aphrodite. He won the race but did not show the gratitude to Aphrodite so she turned them both to lions.


Atalanta and Hippomenes 


What you see is what you see.
What you see is how you comprehend what you see.
— Frank Stella
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In 1990 Stella began to incorporate 3D printing technology and computer generated imagery to create collages where the shadows are created by objects overlapping each other

The real treasure for me was to see Frank Stella’s sketches which  I can only compare to a direct conversation with the artist. Through the sketches you can guess artist’s line of though. Some of the sketches you see as big pieces on walls others with modifications become sculptures or don’t become anything at all. Some of the ideas are realized that same year others only after a couple of decades if Frank thought those deserve a second though. Some of the sketches are made on hotel stationaries somewhere in Berlin inspired by travels.

 I had no idea that his mother was a artist and they used to paint together. His father was a gynecologist, who used to paint housed for extra money in the beginning of his career. Stella gives an inspiring message to young artist,  by saying that they should travel and visit as many art galleries as possible, learn from old masters. Try to copy old masters and, hopefully , you will get tiered of it and create your own art ( my interpretation of stella's quote)

 Photo by Steven Brooke

Photo by Steven Brooke