For over fifty years, Frank Stella has created a significant body of abstract art comprised of paintings, reliefs, sculptures, drawings, and prints. Frank Stella Prints: A Retrospective details the artist’s remarkable career as a printmaker. It presents, as evidence, over 100 prints that make apparent how his highly experimental endeavors have redefined the traditional print. The exhibition also offers a clear view of Stella’s stylistic evolution—a series of reinventions from the minimalist geometric abstraction of the early years to the baroque exuberance of the later gestural work. Frank Stella Prints: A Retrospective is the artist’s first major print retrospective since 1982. The exhibition is also the occasion for the publication of a revised and expanded second edition of The Prints of Frank Stella: A Catalogue Raisonné, 1967─1982 (New York: Hudson Hills Press, 1983).
Many of Stella’s mort important print series are represented in the exhibition, including, among others, Black Series I (1967), Exotic Birds (1977), Polar Co-ordinates for Ronnie Peterson (1980),Circuits (1982–83), Swan Engravings (1982–85), Moby Dick Engravings (1990–91), Imaginary Places (1994–98) and Near East Series (1997–2000). Stella’s titles are richly allusive and range in meanings from the historical, geographical, and political to the personal and literary. In references, for example, to nineteenth-century American clipper ships, Civil War battles, endangered and extinct birds, Formula 1 racetracks, and Italian folktales, they add another sensuous dimension to Stella’s richly layered art.
Frank Stella Prints: A Retrospective is organized by the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art and curated by Richard H. Axsom. It opens at MMoCA in early 2016 and will be followed by a national tour. The exhibition is drawn in its entirety from the Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation collection of modern and contemporary prints. It is accompanied by a new and revised edition of Axsom’s original catalogue raisonné of Stella’s prints (1983) that was published at the time of the artist’s first major retrospective of his prints. The Madison Museum of Contemporary Art has a distinguished tradition of organizing traveling exhibitions, here working with the Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation in circulating Frank Stella Prints: A Retrospective.
Support for Frank Stella Prints: A Retrospective has been made possible by a grant from the Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation.
The lead corporate sponsor of the exhibition is BMO Private Bank.
Generous support has also been provided by Sylvia Vaccaro; the Theda and Tamblin Clark Smith Family Foundation; Marc and Astrid Vaccaro; TravelWisconsin.com; the Steinhauer Charitable Trust; Madison Print Club; Peggy and Tom Pyle; Mildred and Marv Conney; National Guardian Life Insurance; Terry Haller; Sara Guyer and Scott Straus; Nancy Doll and Michael Bernhard; Perkins Coie LLP; Dane Arts with additional funding from the Evjue Foundation, charitable arm of The Capital Times; Hooper Corporation/General Heating & Air Conditioning; RSM; a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and National Endowment for the Arts; and MMoCA Volunteers.