Tag Archives: Frank Stella

Complete

There’s many ways to simulate wholeness, completeness, whatever one wants to call it. As many as there are ways to simulate an excess.

Posted in American Modernism, Principles of Abstraction | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

John Bunker

Some collages by the British artist John Bunker are very good. I can’t help but think of Stella, as usual, but this piece is pretty compelling, and stands any comparison.

Posted in Abstract Sculpture, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Abstract East and West

My blog readers wouldn’t necessarily know it, but I have made a pretty close study of Chinese art, historical and modern, and even written about it. There is a chapter in my book on that topic in fact. My question … Continue reading

Posted in Abstraction and Society, American Modernism, Asian Abstraction, Conceptualism and Painting, Current Affairs | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Why Abstract?

In what lies the abstraction?

Posted in American Modernism, Principles of Abstraction | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Italian Old Masters

Too much has been made of Stella’s interest in Caravaggio round the time of Working Space. It’s pretty hard to find anything in Caravaggio useful to abstract art, and in a way his very strongly felt space is a bit … Continue reading

Posted in American Modernism, Early Abstraction, Italian Art, Principles of Abstraction | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

By their taste you will know them

By chance Picasso bumps into Robert Delaunay, and he gives the password—“Cézanne.” Delaunay responds and now they are on the same wavelength, co-conspirators of art. But then Picasso offers the secret handshake—“the late bathers”—and Delaunay doesn’t get it. He prefers … Continue reading

Posted in Abstraction and Society, American Modernism, Ethics of Abstraction | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Entropy

Reading a book by Leonard Susskind, which gives me further perspective on the topic of abstraction and information loss—something I’ve written about but never fully understood. Or rather, I have trouble following the scientists when they say that nature is … Continue reading

Posted in Abstraction and Society, American Modernism, Principles of Abstraction | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Combination

  Arp’s blobby shapes are good, and so are Lissitzky’s ruled ones. The artist who comes to mind as most successfully combining the two is late Stella, from Moby Dick or Had Gadya onwards, because the geometry appears as an image rather … Continue reading

Posted in American Modernism, Early Abstraction, Principles of Abstraction | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Sameness of Abstraction

Recently I came across a review of the Nada art fair in The Art Newspaper, which amounted to the observation that abstract painting was everywhere and that it all looked the same. Actually the reviewer was warning that it will … Continue reading

Posted in American Modernism, Conceptualism and Painting, Current Affairs, Principles of Abstraction, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Gouk on Steel

To all my blog readers I would like to recommend the two articles by Alan Gouk on sculpture in steel recently featured on abstract critical—especially the first one, though part 2 has its interest. Thanks to Gouk I have discovered … Continue reading

Posted in Abstract Sculpture, American Modernism, Principles of Abstraction, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Had Gadya Again

Just for the pleasure of it I want to make another Stella print/study comparison. The Had Gadya works reward the effort. From the first resolved version of this piece to the final, the scribbly bits are quite changed. The scribbles … Continue reading

Posted in American Modernism, Principles of Abstraction, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Space of an Artist

Blog reader Naomi Schlinke has posted a comment that she has a less than positive experience with Stella’s work, particularly its space. That’s a good thing for me, a Stella fan, because it forces me to clarify what I feel … Continue reading

Posted in American Modernism, Early Abstraction, Principles of Abstraction | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rorshach Fail

Stella, at least before Moby Dick, was pretty committed to non-representational art, and kept coming up with new ways to see what that meant. Here’s another quote from the catalog mentioned earlier:“The way I see it, an abstract painting should … Continue reading

Posted in American Modernism, Principles of Abstraction | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Had Gadya

Still on the topic of Stella’s prints, my new catalog documents three of the Had Gadya pieces from original collage to an interim state. In all of them the first version seems, to my eyes, to have a clearer structure, … Continue reading

Posted in American Modernism, Principles of Abstraction | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Leger and Stella

The resemblance of Stella’s Cones and Pillars series and the work of Leger  is pretty clear, although to contemplate it is still interesting. Stella has a true modernist genius for picking up on the least promising sources. This Leger could … Continue reading

Posted in American Modernism, Early Abstraction, Principles of Abstraction, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Circuit Lines

The complexity of Stella’s Circuit series is diabolical. Interesting is that there are relationships that no one could be expected to see, or that, because of the crowdedness of the work, are close to impossible to see, and that the … Continue reading

Posted in American Modernism, Principles of Abstraction | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Philosophy of An Artist

In his book Working Space, Stella makes a comment in passing that I can’t get out of my mind. He says “…life is more wonderful than the imagination and recall of the people who live it.” Objectively true. How can … Continue reading

Posted in Abstraction and Society, American Modernism, Ethics of Abstraction | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Circuits

Recently had a chance to see two of Stella’s Indian Birds and a Circuit, and I can hardly believe that I ever thought the color in these works was arbitrary or slapdash. Stella must have said to himself that the … Continue reading

Posted in American Modernism | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lauren Luloff

I was struck by a review of a young artist in the NYT. The work seemed at first glance to be in some debt to Stella, which is not a bad thing to be, but checking into her more closely … Continue reading

Posted in American Modernism, Principles of Abstraction | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Kandinsky and Stella

The following comparison may or may not be a good one; what caught my eye is the plane sticking forward in the Kandinsky, which could be seen as punctured, and its resemblance to the brown curved and cut plate in … Continue reading

Posted in American Modernism, Early Abstraction, Principles of Abstraction, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Old and New

Stella’s work always offers the same experience—each new series looks awful at first, and then time reveals its beauties. How much more revealing of quality is a good strong dislike than the bland suspension of judgment most appropriate today. I … Continue reading

Posted in American Modernism, Early Abstraction, Principles of Abstraction | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Music and Abstraction

Early abstractionists such as Kandinsky and Klee found that music gave them a lot to work with. Since then the idea that abstract art is visual music has become a cliché so cornball that no one even thinks about it … Continue reading

Posted in American Modernism, Conceptualism and Painting, Principles of Abstraction | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wilhelm Worringer

Recently I put up a post on Wilhelm Worringer’s classic book, Abstraction and Empathy. It worked off an earlier post about Michel Serres, but I didn’t give it much importance; it was something of a placeholder. But as Mr. Waller … Continue reading

Posted in Early Abstraction, Principles of Abstraction, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Improvisation Again

I published a little piece on Abstract Critical about improvisation. Even though the article was itself improvised, and advertised the fact, that didn’t prevent it from being misunderstood. I wish I had included this comment from Adorno as additional clarification: … Continue reading

Posted in Abstraction and Society, Principles of Abstraction, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Critics and Philosophers

Critics and philosophers are useful for the most paradoxical reason—because they confirm what one instinctively knows. Some critics and philosophers. The reason for this can only be that the world around us, including the art world and everything that people … Continue reading

Posted in Abstraction and Society, American Modernism, Principles of Abstraction | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Yet Another Precursor

My interest in Stella causes me to see many things differently, but there is also a long history of painted reliefs that I was not aware of. All I knew of John Chamberlain was free-standing sculpture, but in the early … Continue reading

Posted in American Modernism, Principles of Abstraction, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Gap

Again Ehrenzweig confirms something taught by experience: “…we know so little about the gaps in the perpetually oscillating stream of consciousness. In these gaps the work of unconscious scanning is carried on.” This thought coincides with earlier moments of this … Continue reading

Posted in Abstraction and Society, American Modernism, Principles of Abstraction | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Complex Process

It takes an effort of imagination for an ordinary viewer to recapture the enormous difficulty of Stella’s methods in the reliefs—time consuming, and requiring the coordination of many different activities and people. First he has to plan the work with … Continue reading

Posted in American Modernism, Conceptualism and Painting, Principles of Abstraction, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Large Forms

Following from the previous post, some thoughts from Ehrenzweig suggest what might be interesting about an abstract book: “…integration [of the artwork] can only be controlled by the empty stare of unconscious scanning which alone is capable of overcoming the … Continue reading

Posted in American Modernism, Conceptualism and Painting, Principles of Abstraction, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Animation

Looking once again at Stella’s Moby Dick works, I’m struck by how intensely animate they are. Animals, figures, whatever you want to see—and it’s evident again how the obvious is so hard to notice, and always the most important thing, … Continue reading

Posted in American Modernism, Early Abstraction, Principles of Abstraction | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment