The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum

Skip to main content

Important Update

Frank Stella Has Always Been a Star, Architectural Digest

On a recent day this fall, the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, Connecticut, unveiled a new exhibition. Centered on star-focused works by master American artist Frank Stella, the show bursts with a sense of joy. And since the curatorial offering, which is formally titled “Frank Stella’s Stars, A Survey,” is scheduled to remain on view through early next May, there’s plenty of time to venture over to the constitutional state in order to see it.

On a recent day this fall, the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, Connecticut, unveiled a new exhibition. Centered on star-focused works by master American artist Frank Stella, the show bursts with a sense of joy. And since the curatorial offering, which is formally titled “Frank Stella’s Stars, A Survey,” is scheduled to remain on view through early next May, there’s plenty of time to venture over to the constitutional state in order to see it.

“I’m driven by anxiety, but not by doubt,” Stella told writer Avis Berman at one point in his interview. “Anxiety on how to do something and how to do it well, but never doubt whether to do it in the first place. The answer is always yes.” Yes, it seems, was the answer when he began work on his lesser-known metal sculptures. Those pieces were a dominant area of interest for Stella in the year that the article was published, and could be glimpsed in the accompanying photo portfolio.

Some of the pieces, which were photographed by Hans Namuth for the magazine, share a clear through line with the works now on view at the Aldrich. While the scale of those sculptures ranges from pedestal perfect to down-right monumental, they are a united testament to Stella’s far-ranging prowess. It’s worth noting that the exhibit also features some two-dimensional canvases, which recall Stella’s famous paintings. Of those works, the artist reflected to Architectural Digest: “People thought my painting was narrow and focused, but it didn’t seem that way to me. I thought it was inclusive.”

Indeed. But at this point, Stella’s name likely feels like the elephant in the gallery. Since it translates to star in Latin and Italian, it would appear to be no huge wonder why the artist repeatedly returned to the motif as inspirational subject. Nonetheless, Stella has been consistently tight-lipped on the matter, never waxing poetic on all the ways in which his name may or may not have influenced him.

The Aldrich, however, has good reason to show the pieces off. About 50 years ago, the institution became one of the first museums to put Stella’s works on display, while MoMA’s first Stella was purchased with funds from namesake founder Larry Aldrich. “I think about all kinds of art all the time when I see things,” Stella told AD at one point in the article. “I think about art in terms of generalities and problems.” Perhaps then, his stars were one important part of that think-quest.


Related Exhibitions

September 21, 2020 to May 9, 2021 | Main Street Sculpture, Sculpture Garden, Lobby, Leir Gallery, Screening Room, Project Space

Frank Stella’s Stars, A Survey


Related News

“My Favorite Artwork | Frank Stella,” T Magazine, March 18, 2020

The artist cites a painterly 19th-century landscape and a geometric 20th-century mural as influences on his own work.

“The Constellation of Frank Stella,” T Magazine, March 18, 2020

The artist’s Minimalist abstractions helped change the direction of his painting.



Top image: Frank Stella’s Stars, A Survey, The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, September 21, 2020 to May 9, 2021 (installation view, left, Jasper’s Split Star, 2017; right, Frank’s Wooden Star, 2014), 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