The Long Run

Frank Stella. Giufà, la luna, i ladri e le guardie. 1984

FRANK STELLA (American, born 1936) .Giufà, la luna, i ladri e le guardie. 1984. Synthetic polymer paint, oil, urethane enamel, fluorescent alkyd, and printing ink on canvas, and etched magnesium, aluminum, and fiberglass. 9' 7 1/4" x 16' 3 1/4" x 24" (293.3 x 491.1 x 61 cm). Acquired through the James Thrall Soby Bequest

Frank Stella: My name is Frank Stella and the painting you're about to look at is mine.

It’s very geometric imagery taken from a late 17th or 18th Century French stonecutting manual. It's a manual to illustrate how to make geometric forms in three dimensions. So, there you see the cylinder, a three-dimensional image in basically two dimensions.

You know, abstraction is all about shapes and geometry and essentially kind of boring in a way. But the idea here is to have the shapes be animated, and to give a sense that there's a narrative here that you can follow the shapes, that they're interacting with each other in that sense that something is going on. This could be called the dance, right? With everybody bouncing around... the shapes don't get in each other's way. And they retain a kind of individuality and yet in some way they hang together.

It's not about innovation, you know? But it's about working and what you see when you're working. We made it as a foam core construction, a small model, and then went ahead and built the pieces. There's basically a background, and then the pieces are attached to the ground. It's made up of a lot of parts. But the parts are all sort of obvious and discreet. The scribbled green half circle obviously is the cutout from the background shape, the larger curved shape.

But, you know, the only thing that I can really say about this piece is, you know, it's news to me today. Which I think is good, actually.

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