By Doug MacCash, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune
Frank Stella, a superstar of American modern art will speak at The New Orleans Museum of Art Friday, March 1, from 6 to 7 p.m. Stella achieved world fame in the late 1950s and 1960s with meticulous hard-edged paintings of simple repeated geometric shapes. Imagine rectangular bulls-eyes, rainbow-colored protractors, black herringbone crosses. Stella's paintings were as pure as crystals. With a style that came to be called minimalism, Stella had taken artistic distillation just about as far as it was going to go. Some say modernism had reached its peak.
Then, the art world does what it always does; it snapped back like a slingshot into the chaos of the current anything-goes artistic era.
And here's the amazing thing. Nobody became much more visually chaotic than Stella, now 77, who put aside the straight lines and flat colors that had made him famous and let his style run free. Eventually he produced explosively expressive sculptures with giddily overlapping shapes and splashy paint that couldn't be less minimal. There are very, very few artists with the confidence to establish a style as radical as Stella's early minimalist paintings, who also have the confidence to turn 180 degrees and set out on a new path.
Stella had taken artistic distillation just about as far as it was going to go. Some say modernism had reached its peak.
Tickets to the Stella talk, which is free with museum admission, will be distributed at 5 p.m. Don't be late. This is one not to miss. The Stella talk is part of the museum's regular Friday night after hours series, with music by Cathy Anderson from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., children's art activities from 5 to 8 p.m. The lecture is presented by former New Orleans gallery owner Donna Perret Rosen.
Frank Stella at NOMA
- What: A talk by the master minimalist painter.
- Where: The New Orleans Museum of Art, One Collins Diboll Circle in City Park.
- When: Friday (March 1) from 6 to 7. Arrive at 5 to be sure of seating.
- Admission: Adults, $10; seniors and university students, $8; children 7 to 17, $6; children younger than 7, free.
- More information: Visit the New Orleans Museum of Art website or call 504.658.4100.