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Frank Stella

Frank Stella

(1936 - )
Born: Malden, Massachusetts
Style: Minimalism
Famous Works:
  • Your Lips Are Blue (1958)
  • Harran II (1967)
  • Narowla III (1971)
Frank Stella has created a body of work which redefined ideas about the role of painting, pushing the focus of the painted surface to such an extreme that his work can almost be viewed as minimalist sculpture. Stella took painting classes while studying history at Princeton University, and visited several art exhibitions in New York City with his professors. These trips brought Stella into contact with the work of Jasper Johns, which had a tremendous influence on him. Seeing these canvases propelled Stella towards thinking of paintings as objects, rather than representations. Abstract Expressionism had pushed modern art towards visible brushstrokes and wild textures; canvases reflected the emotional and psychological condition of the artist. Frank Stella rejected this style, choosing instead to create calculated, monochromatic works devoid of narrative. The first major results of Stella's groundbreaking artistic philosophy were the Black Paintings, and consisted of crisp black bands, separated by lines of unpainted canvas. The Black Paintings were shown at the Museum of Modern art in 1959 and immediately placed Stella in a position of prominence within the art world. Later, his work became progressively sculptural, including patterning of bright color, notched and shaped canvases, and cut-out shapes. Stella used specially designed, interlocking canvases to achieve these sculptural qualities and eventually began to create free-standing sculpture. Though Stella's later work has evolved beyond the blatant minimalism of his early paintings, it still represents his vision of art as object. Stella continues to live in New York, where he continues to work and is active in promoting artist's rights.
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