Label Text: In 1959, a fellow Minimalist artist asserted, “Art excludes the unnecessary. Frank Stella has found it necessary to paint stripes. There is nothing else in his painting.” Black Adder is a lithograph from his “V" series, in which notched forms simultaneously push together and pull apart within a unified form. The meaning of Stella’s titles in this abstract series are unclear but, surprisingly, suggest specific (though obscure) visual references, including a South African mountain range and beach (Quathlamba and Ifafa), a Chilean valley (Itata), and a snake with V- or M-patterned markings (Black Adder).
Having helped establish the Minimalist style in the 1960s, Stella subsequently experimented with other approaches to abstraction throughout his long career. He continued to be a prolific printmaker and painter, stretching toward increasingly sculptural and even architectural forms in recent years.