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Stella’s New Work and the Problem of Series

ALTHOUGH FRANK STELLA’S NEW PAINTINGS are drawn from a series he is even now in the process of executing—13 shapes with three versions of each shape—the works themselves are deeply marked by questions about the viability of the very notion of painting in series. For, first of all, the new pictures are composed of an interlace of exceedingly irregular geometries which do not seem to be the functions of a master idea or generatrix, as were, say, the integers in the Protractor Series; so that there is in this set of paintings neither the systemic relationship between external shapes that one felt in the Protractor Series, nor the kind of “family resemblance” of shape that obtained in Stella’s earlier runs of pictures. Secondly, each of the three variations of a given external shape are more disjunct, both figuratively and literally, than they have ever been before. This is true literally,

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