The Daily Pic

Frank Stella at L&M Arts Is The Daily Pic by Blake Gopnik

Frank Stella's abstraction married good looks and brains

Frank Stella's "Creede I" (left) and "Creede II", both from 1961 (Courtesy L&M Arts)

L&M Arts, on New York's Upper East Side, is showing a stunning selection of Frank Stella's early, and massively influential, abstractions – including these copper-toned works. What impresses me most is how impossible it is to choose between reading Stella's paintings for their perceptual effects (how they explore the beauty of lines and shapes and surfaces) and their conceptual rigor (how they follow simple rules dictated by the shape and size of Stella's stretcher and brush). He's the art historical hinge between sensual abstract expressionism and brainy minimal art – tendencies that normally exclude each other.

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