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), _Raft of the Medusa (Part I)_, 1990. Aluminum and steel. 167 x 163 x 159 in. (424.2 x 414 x 403.9 cm). The Glass House, A Site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. © 2015 Frank Stella/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Mark Joshua Epstein: So, we have arrived at a different artwork, called Raft of the Medusa. And I’m wondering what you guys notice about this artwork.

Student: I notice that it’s, like, totally made of metal. And it kind of looks like that they—this artist—is this still Frank Stella? Okay—that Frank Stella melted a bunch of aluminum foil and waited till it cooled—well, maybe he actually put it together while it was still melting, so that it cooled and it was stuck together.

Student: The—this thing looks like something you’d find in a junkyard or a landfill. But he somehow put it together to make it artwork.

Mark Joshua Epstein: Let’s talk a little bit more about the thing we noticed in the back that’s holding up the piece. Could anyone else share a thought about that rectangle?

Student: So, it holds it up, but it’s still part of the art itself. And I think it’s really cool that he did that, ‘cause most artists would just, like, kind of have a painting or a sculpture, a small sculpture, not this crazy and enormous.

Mark Joshua Epstein: This artwork was inspired in part by an older artwork by an artist named Géricault. And that artwork shows us a shipwreck, actually. So, a shipwreck happens. And as the ship is going down, people quickly make a raft out of wood from the ship, and they get on the raft, and they sail away from the ship. And the ship is called The Medusa.

Student: Maybe this is like the—Frank Stella showing the remains of the raft of Medusa, because it sort of looks like, if you build a boat, you normally need a lot of metal. And this kind of looks like the metal has been corroded, and it’s been through a lot of journey. I feel pity for the metal.

Mark Joshua Epstein: Is this still a painting?

Student: No, because it doesn’t—I don’t think it has any paint at all. I think it’s just melted metal, all melted together. So, I think it’s more of a sculpture than a painting.

Mark Joshua Epstein: Can someone argue that it is a painting?

Student: Maybe it could be a painting because, you know, that looks like an empty canvas board holding up, like, a painting. It’s like this is the empty canvas, and it’s full of itself.