Frank Stella:
A Retrospective

Solo en Inglès

Listen to an audio guide highlighting selected works in Frank Stella: A Retrospective with narration by students from PS 33 Chelsea Prep and Whitney Museum educator Mark Joshua Epstein.


Frank Stella (b.1936), _The Fountain_, 1992. Woodcut, etching, aquatint, relief, drypoint, collage, and airbrush. 91 x 275 3/4 in. (231.1 x 700.4 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art; gift of Marabeth Cohen-Tyler and Kenneth Tyler 2015.97a-c. © 2015 Frank Stella/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photograph by Steven Sloman.

Mark Joshua Epstein: What draws me in with this work is these white lines which are floating on top of these black, dynamic shapes, which are everywhere. There’s one to the left of the middle that kind of goes up and out the top and also curves over to the left. To me, it starts to feel like water. It starts to feel like it’s living, and maybe the water is kind of covering up something else. And the black and white lines lead us to all of these other colors. There’s red with black, there’s this dynamic geometric line stuff in the background, all sorts of things are going on.

This piece is called The Fountain and it’s from a large group of works that Frank Stella did about the book Moby-Dick.

And why it’s called The Fountain is because in the chapter, whalers are arguing about what’s coming out of the spout of a whale. Is it water? Is it air? It’s kind of a mystery that, even after thousands of years of whaling, people still haven’t really solved. And I see the mystery in this work. I see the kind of unknowable thing in this work. It’s all kind of caving in on itself, it’s all of these different shapes and colors and I feel like I can’t take it all in just with one view.