Audio guide stop for Frank Stella, Eskimo Curlew, 1976
Adam Weinberg: Eskimo Curlew is a beautiful, lyrical painting.
Narrator: The painting comes from a series that Stella called the Exotic Birds.
Adam Weinberg: So here, you have the idea of birds being the most natural and non-formal structure.
Narrator: At the same time, the painting’s swooping forms come from the technical realm―they’re drawn from French curves and other tools for mechanical drawing.
Adam Weinberg: What you see is elements floating above a picture plane. A picture plane that then is actually recessed as well. You have the sense of objects floating in an almost slightly surrealist fashion against the rectangle of the aluminum. And now, replacing canvas, which he had been using for several decades, he is now going into the use of metal and cut metal. Seeing how other materials can be the support for painterly activities. And what you find is that he's having fun painting.
You could see that the surfaces, the linear qualities, the wave‑like qualities, colors come back into it. These are exotic paintings especially by virtue of thinking of where Stella had come from in terms of the Black Paintings, the Aluminum Paintings, the Copper Paintings. These almost, for some people, start to go off the deep end.