The acclaimed American artist Frank Stella (born 1936) is renowned for his career-long innovations in abstraction in a variety of media. In addition to his early minimalist work, from the late 1950s and 1960s, and his later efforts to disrupt the accepted norms of painting, Stella made groundbreaking achievements in the print medium, combining printmaking processes, mining new sources for imagery, and expanding the technical capacity of the press.
Frank Stella Unbound: Literature and Printmaking focuses on a revolutionary period in the artist’s printmaking career, between 1984 and 1999, when Stella executed four ambitious print series, each of which was named after a distinct literary work: the Passover song Had Gadya, a compilation of Italian folktales, the epic American novel Moby-Dick, and the illustrated The Dictionary of Imaginary Places. In the four series titled after these sources, Stella created prints of unprecedented scale and complexity, transforming his own visual language—as well as his working process in all media—and reaching a technical and expressive milestone in printmaking.
Featuring forty-one prints from these four major series alongside their literary catalysts, Frank Stella Unbound: Literature and Printmaking will be the first exhibition to focus exclusively on the vital role that world literature played in his powerful exploration of the print medium.
The exhibition catalogue, published by the Princeton University Art Museum and distributed by Yale University Press, illustrates each of the works on view and affords a revelatory examination of the role of literature in the development of Frank Stella’s artistic practice.