Art in Tribeca: Frank Stella at 7 World Trade Center

C. noticed it first: a monumental sculpture being installed this weekend on the fountain at 7 WTC — where the Jeff Koons used to sit. It turns out Larry Silverstein has acquired and installed “Jasper’s Split Star” by legendary artist Frank Stella — adding to the neighborhood’s brilliant Stella murals at 199 Water at the Seaport. Silverstein Properties was nice enough to send along these installation photos by photographer Joe Woolhead with Stella and Silverstein at the site this week.

Silverstein had previously purchased two paintings by Stella in the late 1990s that he displayed in the lobby of the original Seven World Trade Center. Laestrygonia I and Telepilus Laestrygonia II were both destroyed on 9/11. (And it turns out the Koons Balloon Flower (Red) was on loan from the artist from 2006 when 7 WTC opened till 2018.)

I probably don’t have to tell this crowd that Stella, who lives in the Village, has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors throughout his career, including the National Medal of Arts, which he recieved from Obama in 2009, and his work can be found at Museum of Modern Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Tate.

This sculpture was was inspired by a painting Stella made in 1962, “Jasper’s Dilemma,” as a tribute to his contemporary Jasper Johns. Six of the star’s sides are solid aluminum, and six are open and spray-painted pale shades of blue, purple and grey. Stella created the sculpture in 2017; there are more stars like it. “Jasper Johns often played a grey-scale against an obvious chromatic scale of red, orange, yellow, green and blue,” Stella said. “For the most part, it was on a two-dimensional surface. It was hard not to think of transposing that kind of dynamic into three dimensions. So the split star came rather naturally into being as a play of Jasper’s early paintings.”

When Silverstein opened the original Seven WTC in 1987, he and his wife, Klara, spent several years filling the lobby with contemporary art including The Third Circle by Al Held, a Roy Lichtenstein entablature, Cloud by Louise Nevelson, Crusading Euphoria by Ross Bleckner, the two large paintings by Stella, and others. When the company opened the new 7 WTC in 2006, Silverstein commissioned the lobby installation “For 7 World Trade,” by Jenny Holzer (a personal fave since my teenage days) as well as two metal sculptures, Easter Monday and Equilateral Quivering Tower, by Kenneth Snelson; two large paintings, Element No. 1 and Element No. 31, by Ran Ortner; and work by Richard Jolley, Nicole Chensey, Andrew Kuo, Greg Bogin, Regina Sculley and Scott Reeder.

I’ll catch up to the Rosenquist at 3 WTC soon…


1 Comment

  1. So much better than Koons in my opinion.