Famed, post-war minimalist artist to visit Baylor

Artist Frank Stella’s work in the Stella Retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. Photo credit: Courtesy of The Allbritton Art Institute

Minimalist, maximalist and artist Frank Stella comes to Baylor for the first time today for the Albritton Art Institute’s annual lecture. The renowned painter and sculptor will be coming to Baylor to discuss his life and work with art critic Jason Kaufman.

The lecture will take place at 6:30 p.m. today in Jones Theater in the Hooper-Schaefer Fine Arts Center. The audience will have the opportunity to ask Stella questions about his work after the talk.

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Artist Frank Stella will also be in attendance to speak about his work. Photo credit: Kristine Larsen

“It’s huge for him to be coming to Baylor because he’s just coming off his career retrospective at the Whitney,” said Adair McGregor, the events manager for the Albritton Art Institute.

Stella is one of the last living and working members of the post-World War II art movement. He is celebrated today for his innovations in minimalism and his successful mid-career switch to a more colorful and kinetic maximalist style.

Early in his career, Stella catapulted the minimalist movement by reducing painting to its barest essentials. Works like his “Die Fahne Hoch!”, painted in 1959, consist only of pinstriped black and white lines which are not meant to represent anything real or metaphysical. The art is the art itself, not anything else it might mean.

Although Stella was initially reacting against the colorful flamboyance of the Abstract Expressionist movement, later in his career he transitioned into a similarly expressive style. Black and white mediums were replaced by color, and the rigid, linear forms of “Die Fahne Hoch!” and his other “Black Paintings” were supplanted by the curves and sculptural shapes of paintings like “Harran II.”

The Woodlands senior Conner Moncrief is most interested in hearing about this transition at Stella’s talk. Moncrief recently visited the Stella retrospective at the Whitney Museum and was struck by the artist’s evolution.

“I would like to know more about his later work, because I have a hard time grasping some of it, having seen it at the Whitney,” Moncrief said. “But just getting to see an artist who was in the thick of that art scene between Abstract Expressionism and minimalism alive and talking is incredible.”

The Albritton Art Institute, which is hosting the lecture, promotes the appreciation of artists on campus. Each year’s lecture brings a pre-eminent artist to campus for discussion with students, faculty and members of the public.

“He is a pillar in the history of art. Just to glean any information will be wonderful,” McGregor said.

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Art critic Jason Kaufman will discuss Stella’s art on campus. Photo credit: Courtesy of The Allbritton Art Institute

Kaufman, who will be interviewing Stella for the lecture, was instrumental in bringing Stella to Baylor.

“I’m just really excited to see Frank Stella in the flesh because he’s someone you read about in so many courses. He’s a real deal artist,” Moncrief said.