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frank stella 1958

In sum, if Beckett made us “wait for Godot” in his 1956 U.S. premiere, Stella made us wait breathlessly for his next chess move after Morro Castle. We propose that the stakes were much higher than deciding whether Stella best fit the Greenbergian or Minimalist camp. There was, we believe, another layer that Stella could not himself confront at the time. He took us to the edge of a dark abyss. And then he recoiled. What would soon emerge were works that offered more “certitude and joy” — paintings more Matisse than Beckett in feeling. But what a magnificent moment of black doubt Stella shared with us in 1958.

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