Audio guide stop for Frank Stella, Zeltweg, 1982
Narrator: Stella named this painting, Zeltweg, after a racetrack in Austria.
Michael Auping: These curves are actually based on the shape of Formula One and Grand Prix race tracks.
Narrator: Michael Auping.
Michael Auping: He uses curves, found curves as it were, as a form of gesture. Frank's interest in car racing has led him to designing images for the bodies of racecars. He's also driven racecars on occasion. He's someone you really don't want to drive with on the freeway. He drives 100 miles an hour.
What I think he's trying to impart in a painting like Zeltweg is this sense of speed and how these curves from the race tracks or curves that he has made up catapult your eye around and through the painting, which is what a curve does. You follow a line. If it curves, it zips your eye around the picture. That's what he's trying to do in these paintings along with the physical nature of them, in which these curves are made up of various sheets of metal that are then painted. And they're at different distances from your eye. Frank has said on some occasions that when you're driving a race car, following the line and the curve is something you have to really concentrate on. That's what he's trying to get the viewer to do with these so‑called circuit paintings.