The historical arc of Stella’s use of the star travels from the minimal to the maximal, with the recent star sculptures frequently exhibiting a corruption of the form as well as a wild diversity of materials and fabrication techniques. Frank Stella’s Stars, A Survey will be presented both in the galleries and the Museum's Sculpture Garden. The indoor portion of the exhibition will be on view from September 21, 2020 to May 9, 2021. The outdoor installation will be on view from September 21, 2020 to September 6, 2021.
A 150-page hardbound book featuring essays by the exhibition's curators Richard Klein, Exhibitions Director, and Amy Smith-Stewart, Senior Curator, will be co-published by Gregory R. Miller & Co.
Curated by Richard Klein, Exhibitions Director, and Amy Smith-Stewart, Senior Curator, with the help of Caitlin Monachino, Curatorial Assistant and Publications Manager.
Scores for the Stars was a pair of performances dedicated to Frank Stella’s Stars by Ander Mikalson.
The performances were temporal and astral landmarks: Part I took place on the winter solstice (December 21, 2020), when our star was lowest in the sky, and Part II took place on the summer solstice (June 20, 2021), when our star was highest in the sky. On the winter solstice, the Stars were serenaded with summer songs and on the summer solstice, the Stars were serenaded with winter songs. The performance was choreographed by text, graphic, and musical scores.
The performers included musicians Amy Selig on cello and Chié Yoshinaka on violin. Each performer moved around the Sculpture Garden, orbiting the Stars, crossing each other’s paths but remaining always at some distance from each other. They played to the Stars (not to the audience), with deep feeling as one would play to a lover or friend, seeking to commune with the Stars. At times they played behind the Stars, so it is was as though the sound was emanating from the Stars themselves, and the two Stars were singing to each other. Each Star was a distinct character with its own voice; the metallic Star the high cry of the violin, the wooden Star the warm tones of the cello.
The musicians played the songs as echos, as a call-and-response. Rather than playing entire songs from start to finish, they played selected phrases of music, repeating the phrases, passing them back and forth to each other, with silence in between. It was a dialogue between the performers and between Frank Stella's Stars. The selected phrases of music were about winter, including songs by Simon & Garfunkel, The Mamas & The Papas, Fleet Foxes, Fleetwood Mac, Bob Dylan, Vivaldi, and others.
Photos by Maria Baranova-Suzuki
Generous support for Frank Stella's Stars, A Survey is provided by the Anne S. Richardson Fund, Speyer Family Foundation, Martin Margulies, Diana Bowes and James Torrey, Linda and Michael Dugan, and Patricia and Lawrence Kemp.
Generous support for The Aldrich Sculpture Garden is provided by The Leir Foundation.
Top image: Frank Stella’s Stars, A Survey, The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, September 21, 2020 to May 9, 2021 (installation view, left, Star with Square Tubing, 2016; right, Stick Star, 2017, ), Courtesy of the artist and Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York and Aspen © 2020 Frank Stella / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Christopher E. Manning