Frank Stella’s Gigantic Stars Land at the Royal Academy of Arts

Inflated Star and Wooden Star (2014), by Frank Stella
Photo: © Benedict Johnson

The Royal Academy of Arts in London has unveiled a new large-scale artwork by the revered American artist Frank Stella (see Frank Stella Now Co-Represented by Marianne Boesky and Dominique Lévy).

The 7-meter tall sculpture, titled Inflated Star and Wooden Star (2014), is made of aluminium and teak wood. The contrasting materials create a sense of tension, as if the elements of the work are simultaneously repelled and attracted to each other, trapped in an invisible force field.

Inflated Star and Wooden Star, which is being shown in the UK for the first time, is on display at the Academy’s Annenberg Courtyard, where it will remain until May 17.

Stella carved a name for himself in the competitive New York art scene of the 1960s and 70s, thanks to his unique minimalist and post-abstract paintings in bright colors, which create vivid optical illusions.

His career was meteoric, and he became the youngest artist to have a retrospective at MoMA in 1970, aged 33. His personal life was equally exciting, as he forged friendships with key artists and critics of the period such as Carl Andre, Barbara Rose, and Hollis Frampton (see Protesters Bloody the Sidewalk over Dia’s Carl Andre Show).

In later years, in an effort to explore questions of materiality and space further, his works evolved from sculptural wall-based paintings to large-scale, freestanding installations.

2015 will be an important year for Stella. This autumn, a major retrospective of his work will open at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. It will be the most comprehensive exhibition of his oeuvre to date.

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