New York

Frank Stella

MoMA - The Museum of Modern Art

Frank Stella began what has been called his “second career” when he started making relief paintings in 1970, the year the Museum of Modern Art gave him his first retrospective. In the current exhibition, which begins where that show left off, we see every stage in the evolution of this virtuoso body of work, from the comparatively sober “Polish Village” paintings (1970–73) and “Diderot” series (1974) to his most recent (and most elaborate) constructions. Throughout this period Stella has demonstrated startling gusto and persistence, with each series seeming to trump the previous one in projective complexity and vertiginous exuberance. There is an emphasis in these works on improvisational release rather than restraint, and on his new calibration of the relationship between the surface of a painting and its spatial dynamics. The effect of this new pictorial space—a “spherical” space that

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