A dad and his daughters, loving life in New York City

Monday, May 7

Frank Stella at the Met

With Bo and Co busy at Bella's birthday, I decided to go look at some art last Saturday afternoon... and—total treat!—ran into Debbie and her lovely daughter M on their way to the Metropolitan Museum to see the just-opened Frank Stella show. And though none of us are huge Stella fans (especially me, who really had no clue going in what his work was like), we all felt that the exhibition had enough high points to warrant a recommendation, especially if you only pay, say, $5 of the museum's "suggested" $20 admission price. (Yes, you can even pay $1, or 1¢, and no one will give you a hard time.)

Anyway, the art. The big draw here is Frank Stella on the Roof, featuring the unveiling of three large sculptures that nicely fill the Met's beautiful roof-garden space, as well as two table-top pieces. My favorite was the imposing, honeycombed Chinese Pavilion, pictured at top and below, not only for its extreme changeling abilities (depending upon your perspective), but also because it functioned as a engaging framing device for the cityscape in the distance.

I also liked adjoeman, below, for its dynamic feel and dangerous protrusions. You'll be tempted to spin the whole thing on its track—and you are, in fact, physically capable of doing so—but the security guard will quickly shout at you to stop and point to the tiny "Do Not Touch" sign hung at ankle level behind the piece. You can, however, play the always-fun "whisper into one end of the spiraling tube while your friend listens at the other" game.

After all that sunshine and fresh air, head back down to the first floor to see the small but visually loud Frank Stella: Painting into Architecture, which not surprisingly focuses on the artists' forays into architecture, much of which will remind you of Frank Gehry (supposedly Stella was Gehry's muse, and not the other way around). Of chief interest here is the ribboned wooden work below, which Debbie rightly called the most elegant piece of either exhibit. I also liked the street-art feel of the heavy, wavy wall, slathered with garish colors and collage-like elements.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is located on Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street. Frank Stella: On the Roof will be on view (weather permitting) until October 28. Stella: Painting Into Architecture will run through July 29.

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