Frank Stella, Das Erdbeben in Chili [N#3] (The Earthquake in Chile), 1999
Narrator: This exhibition opens with a juxtaposition of two works. The enormous 1999 painting Earthquake in Chile appears next to Pratfall, from 1974. The contrast between them indicates the vast range of Stella’s production. At the same time, their similarities—which are less obvious—speak to some of the painterly concerns that have driven him throughout his career.
Adam Weinberg: This opening wall basically shows you the two sides of Frank Stella.
Narrator: Adam Weinberg.
Adam Weinberg: It shows you the baroque, the labyrinthine nature of his work, the complexity on one hand and the simplicity, symmetry, classical nature as you see in Pratfall on the left. What's interesting is that there is, if you really looked at the Pratfall painting with the squares, actually has some theatrical qualities, because it seems like the squares have ring or vibrating. Also, when you look at Earthquake in Chile, it looks very random but what you see as you study it is the repeated patterns, and that there's actually a structure and a framework that underlies it.
So I think what you find in these two works is something that he plays out over and over again in fifty years that interplay between structure, and concept and very, very tight form and something that is totally expansive and has almost a chaotic and random quality which is something that you also see in the show. That tension between structure, the grid, and things which just seem to be almost natural, like overgrown.