Delusional Accounts of Frank Stella's Influence

Delusional Accounts of Frank Stella's Influence

Postby CAP » Sat Nov 28, 2015 12:01 am

The mindless Meredith Mendelsohn on Fartsy launches into some blatant hype in the cause of the sorry Frank Stella: 'A Retrospective' at The Whitney Museum (review here) only to demonstrate a blithe indifference to the notion of influence. She, mostly at the behest of co-curator of the survey, Michael Auping, desperately attributes anything with stripes and flat colours to Stella, ignoring the fact that Stella did not originate stripes, flat or gestural (see for example Robert Rauschenberg's Yoicks from 1954 amongst a long list of others, American and other) that NONE of their examples persist with shaped canvases, much less the absurd fabrication of drafting curve templates that underpins Stella's Exotic Birds and subsequent series, like Circuits.

Auping is frankly delusional in asserting the decisive influence of Stella on Schnabel or Salle - both artists would certainly have known about Stella's achievements, but as each readily acknowledges it is the example of German artists, especially Kiefer (for Schnabel) and Polke (Salle) that inspires layering and appropriated materials, observed in visits to Europe. Neither gets into commissioned fabrication, neither lingers over arch stylisation - they go figurative first and foremost. As for Stella's so-called teachings - via his book Working Space (1987) - this was openly ridiculed at the time and treated as nothing more than a vanity project for a pompous fool. The grand historicist march forward for abstraction never looked so muddled, irrelevant and embarrassing.

Nor can Mendelsohn's pathetic disclaimer: This isn’t to say that the 10 artists we’re spotlighting are working in a “Stella style,” or even that they have looked to Stella for inspiration. Rather, we chose a wide array of art that would be hard to imagine today if Stella had not first paved the way with his experimentations in abstract painting. Except of course that the 'wide array' are all abstract, mostly geometric, and neither accounts for much of the current art world and even where abstraction retains some traction in the art world at present - as in Zombie Formalists - the work is notabley not concerned with stripes, shaped canvases or extravagant fabrication. Stella's influence is appropriately minimal on the art world of today. We revisit his work with a kind of morbid curiousity for how the art world of the sixties can ever have been taken in by such sophomore pretension. The work is still in surprisingly good condition given the industrial materials he used, however the ideas and tastes are not. :evil:
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