A groundbreaking modernist, Stella, at 82, is one of America’s greatest living artists.
With Memorial Day weekend in the rearview mirror, there’s only two places I want to be for the next four months: beside a pool or somewhere inside with the A.C. blasting.
While the first option is a perennial favorite — and if you pick your swimming hole (and companions) carefully, the visuals can be quite rewarding — lounging poolside can be a little limiting if you want to stimulate areas above the neck. Summers in South Florida are l-o-n-g, and there’s only so many books you can read.
So, I was excited to hear that NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale, a local leader in, among other things, air conditioning, had extended its critically acclaimed exhibit, Frank Stella: Experiment and Change, all the way through July 29.
Stella, as you probably know, is a groundbreaking modernist and, at 82, one of America’s greatest living artists. The Whitney Museum in NYC staged a massive Stella retrospective just three years ago, and while the NSU Museum’s show, which opened last November, is smaller, it is no less comprehensive.
Experiment and Change boasts more than 300 works covering every facet of the New York artist’s 60-year career, from paintings Stella did as a Princeton student in the late 1950s to the present, including iconic early geometric works such as his Black Paintings, shaped canvases, and Protractor Series, and all stages of his output since the 1980s, as Stella’s wall-hung works have become increasingly three-dimensional, bounding off the canvas (often with the help of computer modeling), and he has continued his explorations with free-standing sculpture and prints.
NSU Art Museum Director and Chief Curator Bonnie Clearwater worked closely with Stella on the show, and it features extensive materials from the artist’s “working archive.” In fact, one large gallery is filled to bursting with notes, sketches, and models of larger works — including some material never exhibited before — that shed light on Stella’s trajectory from the minimalism of his immediately recognizable early works to the exuberant, expressionist maximalism of today.
If modern art is your thing — or you simply have a taste for color, form, and joy — get to this show. There will certainly be a few rainy days between now and the end of July. Peel yourself away from the pool!
Frank Stella: Experiment and Change. Through July 29 at NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale (1 E Las Olas Blvd, Ft Lauderdale). Admission: $12/$8 seniors and military/$5 students with ID/FREE for members & kids 12 and under. For hours and info: NSUArtMuseum.org.