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), Die Fahne hoch!, 1959. Enamel on canvas. 121 5/8 x 72 13/16 in. (308.9 x 184.9 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; gift of Mr. and Mrs. Eugene M. Schwartz and purchase with funds from the John I. H. Baur Purchase Fund, the Charles and Anita Blatt Fund, Peter M. Brant, B. H. Friedman, the Gilman Foundation, Inc., Susan Morse Hilles, The Lauder Foundation, Frances and Sydney Lewis, the Albert A. List Fund, Philip Morris Incorporated, Sandra Payson, Mr. and Mrs. Albrecht Saalfield, Mrs. Percy Uris, Warner Communications Inc., and the National Endowment for the Arts 75.22. © 2015 Frank Stella/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Digital Image © Whitney Museum, N.Y.

Narrator: Stella painted these large, abstract paintings when he was a young man. 

Mark Joshua Epstein: I think these early works take a lot of extended looking. The white lines that Stella has left showing through the black paint take a long time to find themselves to your eyes.  It’s almost as if you’re trying to look at something in pitch black and you need to give your eyes time to adjust so that you can really see the details. There’s all of this brushwork that comes through. These lines aren’t exactly—they don’t look like they’re made by machines. They’re definitely made by humans, and you see his brushwork and the evidence of the artist’s hand, which I think is really cool in this work.

You also notice that the paint that he’s using shines in certain spots more than others, and that’s because it was household paint. It was paint from a hardware store, and sometimes the finish was a little bit uneven.  

I think this work looks kind of plain because Frank Stella was really getting to the basics of painting, and he’s trying to really narrow it down to see, if I take out almost everything, can I still make a picture? And what will that picture look like?