Frank Stella: Experiment and Change

12 November 2017 - 8 July 2018

NSU Art Museum, Fort Lauderdale, FL.


NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale will present Frank Stella: Experiment and Change, an exhibition that spans the artist’s 60-year career from the late 1950’s to the present. The exhibition, composed of approximately 300 paintings, relief sculpture and drawings, will offer insight into his trajectory from minimalism (e.g. the geometry of the black paintings) to maximalism (e.g. the spatially complex constructionist and large sculptures of the Moby Dick series.) Curated by Bonnie Clearwater, Director and Chief Curator, Experiment and Change leads the museum’s 60th anniversary celebration presented by AutoNation.

The exhibition juxtaposes works from various periods of Stella’s career, revealing his aesthetic development and focusing on his “Working Archive,” which contains material never exhibited before, such as notes, sketches and maquettes that shed light on his growth as an artist. Stella’s diverse interests include art history, architecture, new materials (fluorescent pigment, carbon fiber, titanium, et al.) and computer-aided modeling for rapid prototyping. His preparatory studies show the ideas in his work that led to a notion about the enlargement of pictorial space. Included will be penciled color sequences for the larger concentric square paintings (1973), flat foam-core cut-outs leading to the emergence of a more generous “working space” and 3D printed models from the 1990’s through the present outlining the use of digital technology.

Frank Stella. Paradoxe sur le comediene, 1974. Synthetic polymer paint on canvas. 142 x 284 inches  360.7 x 721.4 cm. Photo credit: Jason Wyche. © 2017 Frank Stella / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.


Frank Stella’s Experiment and Change is part of NSU Art Museum’s Regeneration Series, exhibitions designed to explore the wide-ranging impact of World War II on artists in Europe and the United States. It was launched in 2016 with Anselm Kiefer from the Hall Collection. Stella’s work is grounded in the post-war philosophical shift in which the individual was to master his/her own existence as popularized through the zeitgeist of existential philosophy, phenomenology and gestalt psychology. When Stella stated in a 1964 radio interview, “What you see is what you see,” not only was he suggesting that his compositions were nothing more than their appearance, but he was also pointing out that his work dealt with the psychology of perception and could be rephrased as, “What you see is how you comprehend what you see.”

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