Narrator: Stella titled this work Circus of Pure Feeling for Malevich. On its most obvious level, the title refers to one of the most purist and extreme practitioners of early abstraction—the Russian avant-garde artist Kazimir Malevich.

Jordan Kantor: There's a way in which these works really speak to the ethos of truth to materials that I think was very central to that Constructivist approach that Malevich represents in art history.

Narrator: Artist Jordan Kantor.

Jordan Kantor: This feels like a playful way in which Stella is just working through how these different metals of different gauges bend and the different shapes they can make in his hands. It just seems like we're given sort of a snapshot of his mind at work, working through formal invention on a small, intimate scale. It's almost like looking at a sketchbook.

Narrator: In a way, the title Stella gave this work announces his intention to be playful with the modernist tradition. It’s the Circus of Pure Feeling―a reference to a work installed on Floor 7 of the Whitney.

Jordan Kantor: Obviously in the context of the Whitney Museum, which has in its collection Alexander Calder's famous Circus, there is another valence here that has to do with a kind of playfulness and an American tradition that has nothing to do with Malevich, or very little to do with Malevich. The way that Stella is working to synthesize these different histories is something that's really compelling to me to think through. I think that they will create a nice feedback loop of form, of energy, and of playfulness, and will create an occasion for us to read one through the other. 


More Audio Guides

Laura Owens audio guide
Jimmie Durham: At the Center of the World audio guide
Toyin Ojih Odutola audio guide
An Incomplete History of Protest audio guide
An Incomplete History of Protest audio guide
Hélio Oiticica: To Organize Delirium audio guide