Original photographer:
Arnold Newman
Arnold Newman

Bill Ganzel


Frank Stella – "High Art & Low Art"

Paul Shapiro

Frank Stella amongst one of his monumental sculptures in his foundry in Rock Tavern, NY, photo by Bill Ganzel, November 2023.

Frank Stella amidst large scale paintings, "that have, for the first time, given color a parity with structure." Photo by Arnold Newman, 1968.

In January, 1968, LOOK published a special edition on "The Sound and Fury in the Arts." The first article featured seven leading artists – who happened to be all male. (In 1960, LOOK had featured women artists like Lee Bontecou, Helen Frankenthaler and Grace Hartigan.) "Never ahs so much happened so fast in the arts," LOOK writer Philip Leider wrote. "New forms, new attitudes and a new freedom from censorship are distorting or expanding our traditiional values."

Sculpture by Constance StellaFrank Stella was the first artist featured. His 1959 black stripe paintings – rigid patterns of 'pinstrips' of bare canvas showing through an even field of solid black paint." Stella initiated the look of high art in the 1960s, according to the article. By 1968, Stella had introduced an explosion of color to his geometric canvases.

Frank Stella's sculpture "Scarlatti Sonata Kirkpatrick" from 2014 is at left.

Over the past 50 years, Stella has progressed to shaped canvases to full three-dimensionality with sculptural forms inspired by cones, pillars, French curves, waves, architectural elements and even Formula 1 race cars. By the 1990s, his work became free-standing, monumental sculptures for public spaces.

Sculpture by Constance StellaIn 2023, Stella was well into his 80s, living in Manhattan, and traveling to his foundry studio near Newburgh, NY, several days each week. There he worked with a team of assistants to produce maquettes and then scale them up. The final works are produced in aluminum or fiber glass. In his interview, he talked about how his father painted houses before becoming a medical doctor and about how his mother, Constance, was a fine art painter and sculptor. One of Canstance's sculptures is at right. Their examples led him to a career in art. Throughout Frank's life, art was his driving force. He died of on May 4, 2024, in Manhattan from lymphoma. He was 87.