Frank Stella at The Whitney

Frank Stella, Empress of India, 1965. From Frank Stella: A Retrospective at the Whitney.

Center: Plant City, 1963. Left hand side: Frank Stella, Marrakech, 1964.

Frank Stella is Art's Master of Reinvention, and when his inventions work, they really work. At the new Whitney's Frank Stella: A Retrospective, his large scale paintings and sculptures burst off the walls in a thoughtful lineup organized by color, shape, and meaning, rather than chronology.

Curated with heavy input by Stella himself, this is the first major retrospective on the artist since a 1987 MOMA exhibit, and includes some of Stella's newest pieces, like the sonata inspired K.81 Combo (bottom right image), as well as works that have been housed in small private collections until now. 

With only 120 of Stella’s many hundreds of works chosen, each piece shows a specific period in Stella's progression, from his earliest works like his Black Paintings pieces, with the famous black stripes that made his name in the Minimalist art scene, to the Polish Village Series (bottom left image) where he began to play with large scale collage structures.

Even if you don't consider yourself a Stella fan, it's worth taking a visit to the retrospective, as his huge body of work varies so completely in style and tone that there really can be something for everyone. If you find him too garish, you may be drawn to his earlier work, or you may be excited by his new "maximalist" later years' style. Either way, it's a visual journey worth taking. Showing now through February at the Whitney


Chodorow II, 1971 from Frank Stella: A Retrospective at the Whitney
Frank Stella, K.81 Combo (K.37 and K.43) large size, 2009 from Frank Stella: A Retrospective at the Whitney