Frank Stella, Harran II, 1967

Narrator: Stella based the Day-Glo curves of Harran II on the form of a protractor. Michael Auping.

Michael Auping: I think the Protractor paintings―the effect that these colors have in the form of these interlaced curves―is like colored circles that roll across the wall. And in Harran, you can almost imagine these interlacing colored circles rolling through these static squares that are positioned all along the painting. It's named after an ancient Mesopotamian city in what is now Turkey. And it's an early reference by Stella to architectural form. One of the things Frank was trying to do with the Protractor paintings was challenge architecture with painting. Make architecture actually seem smaller, or make painting seem equally muscular to the architecture that framed the paintings. 

Frank Stella (b.1936), Harran II, 1967. Polymer and fluorescent polymer paint on canvas, 120 x 240 in. (304.8 x 609.6 cm). Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; gift, Mr. Irving Blum, 1982. © 2015 Frank Stella/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York