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Frank Stella, Plant City, 1963. Magnet measures 3.25 x 3.25 in.
In 1959, at the age of 23, artist Frank Stella burst onto the New York art scene with his now-legendary Black series of paintings, which served as a pictorial manifesto of the artist’s assertion that a painting is “a flat surface with paint on it—nothing more.” Though his early abstract works shared affinities with the emerging Minimalist art movement, in the ensuing decades Stella’s compositions became increasingly complex. These works expanded painting beyond its traditional definition by conflating it with sculpture, a medium in which Stella became increasingly interested. The retrospective exhibition at the de Young in San Francisco highlights the explicit and implicit connections within Stella’s large and diverse body of work, acknowledging the artist’s different phases but positing them as pieces of a coherent whole.