press release

Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco - De Young

Frank Stella: A Retrospective

For almost six decades Frank Stella has been one of the most important and influential figures in the evolution of modern art, expanding the definitions of art and challenging its conventions. Exploring pictorial space—how paintings can seem to expand or contract, lie completely flat or envelop the viewer, suggest movement or foster stillness—has led to some of Stella’s most significant innovations. In its examination of his work, this exhibition considers Stella’s long-standing interest in the picture plane, presenting early paintings that reference the spaces where he lived and worked; his groundbreaking use of color, shape, and volume to map new possibilities for abstraction; and finally his use of advanced technology to evoke new conceptions of space.

Frank Stella: A Retrospective surveys the career of this towering figure in post-WWII American art. Fifty works, including paintings, reliefs, sculptures and maquettes, will be displayed at the de Young, representing Frank Stella’s prolific output from the late 1950s to the present day. This will be the first comprehensive U.S. presentation devoted to the artist since 1970.

Stella first burst into the New York art world in 1959, at the age of twenty-three, when four of his Black Series (1958-1960) paintings were included in the group exhibition, Sixteen Americans, at the Museum of Modern Art. In the following six decades he has remained one of the most important and influential figures in the evolution of modern art. Stella anticipated and pioneered many of the explosive changes in the art world, and remains an enduring figure of both critical and popular attention, as well as controversy.

Frank Stella: A Retrospective comes to the de Young after a premiere at the Whitney Museum in New York and a showing at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth.