This print is related to Stella's earlier paintings of concentric squares, some in gray tones and others exploring color values. Here he alternates between colors and gray, combining—or "scrambling"—the squares of the earlier projects.
Gallery label from Geo/Metric: Prints and Drawings from the Collection, June 11–August 18, 2008.
Throughout his career, Frank Stella has been an innovator in both painting and printmaking. As a young artist, he became known for his reductive Minimalist paintings, executed in series that emphasized a single theme to which each painting presented a different solution or response. In 1967 he accepted master printer Kenneth Tyler's invitation to make prints at the Gemini G.E.L. workshop. There he continued the serial spare geometry of his paintings, often basing his prints on those paintings, while confronting a new set of challenges in terms of scale, ink, and paper choice. Stella's prints also afforded him the opportunity to rework certain concepts, as in the 1973 Double Gray Scramble, part of a brief but fruitful foray into screenprint, which combined earlier images of concentric squares in either gray tones or color values. In this work he alternates between color and gray, "scrambling" the squares of the earlier projects.
Of Stella's more than two hundred fifty print projects to date, approximately one hundred fifty of them have been collaborations with Tyler at Gemini and later at Tyler Graphics, resulting in what has been called "one of the great partnerships in modern American art." Tyler's technical virtuosity and penchant for experimentation have made him the ideal partner for Stella, whose style has now evolved into a riot of color, baroque gesture, and three-dimensionality. Through complex, ambitious printing processes, specially formulated inks, and hand-dyed papers, Tyler and Stella have successfully translated the energy of his painted metal reliefs into several series of prints. Circuits, one such series, is based on the artist's long-standing interest in car racing, and each print, including Pergusa Three, is named for an international racetrack.
Publication excerpt from an essay by Sarah Suzuki, in Deborah Wye, Artists and Prints: Masterworks from The Museum of Modern Art, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2004, p. 200.