This is the first comprehensive Stella exhibition to be assembled in the United States since the 1987 retrospective at The Museum of Modern Art, New York. "A Stella retrospective presents many challenges," remarks Michael Auping, "given Frank's need from the beginning of his career to immediately and continually make new work in response to previous series. And he has never been timid about making large, even monumental, works. The result has been an enormous body of work represented by many different series. Our goal has been to summarize without losing the raw texture of his many innovations."
The Polish Village paintings expose his increased experimentation with media such as printmaking and mark the beginning of Stella's work in collage. He begins to increasingly incorporate various materials into large-scale constructions in order to further probe questions of surface, line, and geometry.
Born in Malden, Massachusetts, in 1936, Stella attended Phillips Academy, Andover, and then Princeton University, where he studied history, art history, and painting. In college, he produced a number of sophisticated paintings that demonstrated his understanding of the various vocabularies that had brought abstract painting into international prominence. After graduating in 1958, Stella moved to New York and achieved almost immediate fame with his Black Paintings (1958-60), which were included in The Museum of Modern Art's seminal exhibition Sixteen Americans in 1959-60.
The Leo Castelli Gallery in New York held Stella's first one-person show in 1962. The Museum of Modern Art, under William Rubin's stewardship, presented his first retrospective a few years later, in 1970, when Stella was only thirty-four years old. A second retrospective was held at MoMA in 1987. Since then, Stella has been the subject of countless exhibitions throughout the world, including a major retrospective in Wolfsburg in 2012. Frank Stella: A Retrospective is the first major survey of the artist's career in the US since 1987. He was appointed the Charles Eliot Norton Professor of Poetry at Harvard University in 1983. "Working Space," his provocative lecture series (later published as a book), addresses the issue of pictorial space in postmodern art. Stella has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the 2009 National Medal of Arts and the 2011 Lifetime Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award from the International Sculpture Center, as well as the Isabella and Theodor Dalenson Lifetime Achievement Award from Americans for the Arts (2011) and the National Artist Award at the Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Aspen (2015).
Generous support is provided by the Kleinheinz Family Endowment for the Arts and Education; The Henry Luce Foundation; Mark Giambrone, Dallas; Audrey and David Mirvish; the National Endowment for the Arts; Neiman Marcus, Youth Education Sponsor; and the Eugene McDermott Foundation.