On a train passing a scrap yard the piles of twisted shiny metal pieces remind me of Stella’s sculpture in Chicago. You might call the pile a piece of abstract art, in the “all over” mode, but Stella’s work is to organize the pile and make something more like an old master composition than a normal piece of contemporary abstraction. There’s more to say about that. I saw the piece, from the Moby Dick series, a few months ago. I’ve mentioned it on this blog but never had a chance to find out what it’s really like. Spent two hours, and it got better all the time. You could say that Stella is an artist who moves from high point to high point—there are a lot of high points and this is one of them.
This front view shows the strong figurative aspect of Stella’s abstractions—you can see the ship heeling over to the left. The photo is a good one, but it doesn’t convey how the height of the thing works in a closed space—in person you can’t get a complete view of the upper layers, so there is the impression of a towering mass, and it’s possible to feel that piled on top are sails and clouds—light and airy things rendered in metal.