Frank Stella’s Pilica II

Frank Stella, Pilica II, 1973. Mixed media assemblage on wood, 110 3/4 x 94 3/4 in. The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C. Acquired 1974.

In a recent Spotlight Tour about Frank Stella’s Pilica II (1973), I was conflicted between Stella’s minimalism and the desire to define what was in front of me. Like we do with clouds passing by, it is human nature to want to assign a specific label to abstract shapes occurring in both nature and art. Other viewers at the talk struggled to determine which artistic medium Pilica II fits into. Is it a sculpture? Bas-relief? Stella’s own description “mixed media assemblage on wood” seemed too vague to accept. Continue reading