Weekend DO: Frank Stella at The Whitney

Immerse yourself in something new this weekend and see an old favorite…

Art is often a solo venture for me. Whether I’m creating or simply taking in the work of someone else, I like experiencing it alone. At my own pace. No constraints or worry that I might be moving too fast…or on the rare occasion, too slow. Nowhere does this ring more true than galleries and museums. Sorry, friends, but the list of people with whom I actually enjoy going to museums with is short. When inspiration is sought, I am my own best company. After reading Big Magic, I’ve been meditating on the ideas of inspiration and creativity and how best to nurture it. Museums and galleries were once a much larger part of my life, and I’ve come to realize just how much I missed the time spent strolling through those spaces filled with the work of others. So, I took it as a bit of a sign when I kept seeing rave review after rave review pop up on my Facebook feed from friends and former professors extolling the virtues of the Frank Stella retrospective, on view at the new Whitney Museum in New York.

On a cold and blustery NYC afternoon, I stepped over the threshold of the brand new Whitney Museum, reopened in the Meatpacking District last May. Designed by architect Renzo Piano, the impressive building rises above the High Line, a stark and beautiful modern-industrial building that contrasts against the historic brick that surrounds it. Boasting around 50,000 square feet of indoor exhibition space, and 13,000 square feet of outdoor space, the cantilevered design includes a collection of terraces and large glass windows that overlook the city and the Hudson River, inviting museum-goers an opportunity to meditate on the art, the space, and the location all at once.

Climb the stairs to floor five, and you’ll find the exhibition I sought out on that cold January day: the Frank Stella retrospective. On view through February 7th, there are just four more weekends remaining to take advantage of this remarkable show. The retrospective includes close to 100 works by the artist, spanning from the mid-1950’s to present-day and filling the entire floor of the gallery. From his minimalist Black Paintings to the artist’s more current sculptural work, visitors are guided through the larger-than-life evolution of an artist. Whether you’re familiar with Stella’s work or not, by the time you’ve finished absorbing his path and process, the two paintings at the entrance of the gallery, which are, upon first encounter seemingly at odds with one another, make perfect sense.

After getting your fill of Stella, be sure to climb your way to the remaining floors (ignore the elevator unless necessity calls for it, as the stairs offer impressive views of the Hudson…also, exercise), stopping to view the equally impressive Archibald Motley show and Wagner collections before ducking in to the cafe for a matcha and avocado toast. Much-needed sustenance after a few hours spent viewing art. After browsing the museum store for art books — I picked up a Nan Goldin book and Draw it With Your Eyes Closed — brave the cold for a stroll around the Meatpacking District and neighboring Chelsea, or make use of the High Line to get a birds-eye view of cold but beautiful NYC.

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  1. I recently did a little post on this exhibit as well ->

    I really enjoyed seeing Stella’s work in the flesh as I’d admired his paintings for much longer.
    And I 100% agree with the sentiment that going to museums and galleries is best experienced on your own. It’s kind of my favorite “quiet” place, being alone with art….that sounds so snobby, but it’s true, haha…

    – An

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