New work is inspired by Phillips’s Kandinsky symposium

Leo Villareal Scramble (2011)

Leo Villareal, Scramble (2011). Light-emitting diodes, microcontroller, custom software, circuitry, wood, plexiglass, 60 x 60 inches. Courtesy of Conner Contemporary Art, Washington, D.C.

In June of this year I moderated a captivating conversation between artists Frank Stella and Leo Villareal at the Phillips Collection during a symposium held in conjunction with our exhibition Kandinsky and the Harmony of Silence. I was very pleased to learn during our Phillips trip to the Miami Beach art fairs last week that Leo Villareal was so inspired by his encounter with Stella at the Phillips that he created a new light work in homage to the artist, which was unveiled in Conner Contemporary Art’s booth at the PULSE art fair. The work, entitled Scramble, consists of a square light box whose rapidly changing light-emitting diodes recreate the color-shift effect of Stella’s 1967 sets for Merce Cunningham’s dance piece of the same title. For Cunningham’s Scramble, Stella stretched vividly-colored cloth over rectangular aluminum frames and mounted them onto casters that were moved quickly around the stage resulting in an ever-shifting collage of purple, blue, red , green, yellow, and orange. Stella later created his celebrated Scramble series of paintings and prints made up of concentric squares of varying colors.

Kandinsky Symposium

Frank Stella, Klaus Ottmann, and Leo Villareal at The Phillips Collection, June 11, 2011

PHOTO CONTEST: Hurricane Umbrella Wins Week 5

The final winner in the Stella-inspired photo contest connects Stella’s swirling structures and popping colors with an umbrella taken out by the weekend’s storm. The winner receives a Phillips after 5 prize pack with admission and two drinks at Evening in Moscow, the last installment of our weekly summer series. Phillips after 5 returns to its first Thursdays schedule in October.

Thanks to all you photographers who participated in the contest! Stay tuned for more.


Photo: Katherine Wiedmann

“Stella’s K.43 is all swirls and a hurricane of colors and metal. The umbrella is the opposite — pokes and spokes disembodied by a hurricane .”

PHOTO CONTEST: Colorful Coast of Zanzibar Wins Week 4

Just one more week to submit! We’ve asked readers to send in photos of objects in their daily lives that call to mind the artist’s swirling sculpture and post a winner each Tuesday,  selected for its composition and creative relationship to Stella’s work. The winner receives a Phillips after 5 prize pack with admission and two drinks at one of our weekly summer events.

Put your photo(s) in the running for next week’s prize! Send to by noon, Monday, August 29. Full instructions here.


Photo: Kate Lonergan

“The rolling, puffy clouds and pastel-colored waves at sunset on my vacation to Zanzibar reminded me of Frank Stella’s swirling, colorful K.43 sculpture.”