A Conversation with Frank Stella
It goes without saying that Frank Stella is one of the last living heroes of American painting from the 1950s and 1960s, one of the most unique artists of the latter twentieth century, and one of the most influential figures in American culture; he was the National Medal of Arts in 2009 by President Obama. After graduating from Princeton, Stella surprised the late 1950s New York art world with a particularly precocious feat: creating his large Black Paintings that not only intensified the debate about Minimalism in painting but that also prepared the way for, as he has said, the “exit from the picture into space.” This exit led him, unlike his contemporaries, to ever more opulent, baroque reliefs, an expanded palette of bright colors and canvases in geomentrical forms, and, eventually, to non-painterly, three dimensional elements that sprung out of hte picture plane and into the space of the gallery, like freestanding sculptures or miniature architectural structures.
On the occasion of the exhibition “Frank Stella - The Retrospective. Works 1958 - 2012,” at the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, the American Academy in Berlin hosted a conversation between Stella and Hanno Rauterberg of Die Zeit on the distinctive and groundbreaking work of the renowned American artist. From early recognition of his departure from abstract expressionism through recent retrospectives of his vast and diverse oeuvre, Stella has been celebrated for his boldness in challenging convention and willingness to innovate in works that have grown in complexity and scale throughout his artistic career. With his turn “from Minimalism to Maximalism,” he established himself as one of the most distinctive artists of the 20th century.
The comprehensive retrospective at the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg takes place from September 2012 to January 2013 and traces the artist’s development over the course of five decades.
Image courtesy Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg