Time and the Work

Following from the preceding post, the movement of the work, which usually means the movement from work to work in a series, should resemble in its effects the real movement of time—works eating each other up. For this to happen there has to be a certain level of energy and productivity. Stella has that, and he consciously does something like, by re-using forms from series to series while he introduces new ones.

Frank Stella, “And the holy one, blessed be he, came and smote the angel of death” (from Had Gadya) 1982-84

Frank Stella, The Spirit-Spout (S-3) 1987

The use of both cones and pillars and the wave shape, in works from two different series, at first glance might be received as just a recycling of images. But the important thing is the temporal aspect, the changes as we move along from work to work and series to series. The wave shape is a new arrival in the Had Gadya works, and the cones and pillars are a hang over in the early Moby Dick works, on their way out. Though the elements used overlap both series, the movement of Stella’s ideas gives the two groupings a very different feeling. In his intensification of the temporal, Stella is in fact a worthy successor to Picasso.

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