Frances Stark

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Frances Stark
Frances Stark at Nottingham Contemporary.jpg
Born 1967 (age 50–51)
Newport Beach, California
Nationality American
Known for Art, performance, video, writing
Notable work My Best Thing

Frances Stark (born 1967) is an interdisciplinary artist and writer, whose work centers on the use and meaning of language, and the translation of this process into the creative act.[1] She often works with carbon paper to hand-trace letters, words, and sentences from classic works by Emily Dickinson, Goethe, Henry Miller, Samuel Beckett, and others to explore the voices and interior states of writers.[2][3] She uses these hand-traced words, often in repetition, as visual motifs in drawings and mixed media works that reference a subject, mood, or another discipline such as music, architecture, or philosophy.[4]

Early life and education[edit]

Born in 1967 in Newport Beach, California, Frances Stark is a contemporary artist who lives and works in Los Angeles.[5] She graduated from San Francisco State University in 1991 with a BA in Humanities, and from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena in 1993 with an MFA.[6]


Stark is a key figure in the Los Angeles art community.[7] She was formerly an Assistant Professor at University of Southern California Roski School of Fine Arts.[8] She is represented by Galerie Buchholz in Berlin, Cologne and New York, Gavin Brown’s Enterprise in New York, greengrassi gallery in London, and Marc Foxx Gallery in Los Angeles.[9]

For more than two decades she has been making poetic works that explore a wide variety of subjects experienced by artists and non-artists alike, including writing, procrastination, the banality of life, failure, success, pride, self-doubt, motherhood, pedagogy, institutional critique, class, music, literature, poetry, philosophy, art, sadness, and relationships. Words and images are at the heart of her practice, and Stark often takes a personal, auto-biographical approach to shared, universal experiences.

My Best Thing (2011)[edit]

The feature-length video work My Best Thing, first presented at the 54th Venice Biennale, stems from an anonymous chat site Stark encountered online. The dialogues between Stark and her chat partners are represented by generalized, cartoon avatars that speak the chat transcripts.[10] The subject matter of these chats range from art and the creative process, to sex and anonymity.[11] The video’s form and content show how the new modes of online communication allow for both greater intimacy and anonymity, giving rise to new kinds of behaviors and relationships.[12]


Stark is also a writer of prose and poetry that has been published in various magazines, catalogues, and books.[13] Writings include:[14]

  • Frances Stark and Ali Subotnick (eds.), (2015) UH-OH: Frances Stark 1991-2015, Hammer Museum
  • Frances Stark (2012) My Best Thing',' Walther König.
  • Frances Stark (2003) Collected Writing: 1993-2003. Book Works.
  • Frances Stark (2007) The Collected Works. Walther König.
  • Frances Stark (2008) Secession (ed. Annette Südbeck).
  • Frances Stark (1999) The Architect & The Housewife, Book Works


Stark's work had been exhibited internationally, including the 2017 and 2008 Whitney Biennial,[15][16] the Performa 11 biennial,[17] and the 54th Venice Biennale.[18] Solo exhibitions of Stark's work include Uh-Oh: Frances Stark 1991-2015 at The Hammer Museum (2015–16),[19] "Intimism," at the Art Institute of Chicago (2015),[20] "Francis Stark: This could become a gimick [sic] or an honest articulation of the workings of the mindat the List Visual Arts Center (2010-11),[21] and The Fall of Frances Stark, Van Abbemuseum, Eindoven, (2007).[22]


Frances Stark's work is included in the following public collections: Her artworks are included in public collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Tate, London; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C.; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, di Rosa, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the UCLA Hammer Museum, and Fonds Regional d'art Contemporain, Champagne-Ardenne.[citation needed]

Further reading[edit]

  • Mary Leclère (2007) For Some Perverts the Sentence is a Body: On the work of Frances Stark. The Glassell School of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.


  1. ^ Jonathan Griffin, "Reflexive Faith," Modern Painters; Nov2013, Vol. 25 Issue 10, p84-87
  2. ^ Benjamin Weissman, "As Eloquence Appears," Frieze June/July/August 2005 Issue 92 141, 141-42
  3. ^ Dennis Cooper, "Frances Stark," Artforum April 1997
  4. ^ "Frances Stark". Retrieved 2014-02-03. 
  5. ^ "Curriculum Vitae". Retrieved 2014-02-03. 
  6. ^ Ollman,Leah (December 26, 2010). "The mind and art of Frances Stark". LA Times.
  7. ^ "UH-OH: Frances Stark 1991-2015". Hammer Museum, Los Angeles. 2015. Retrieved March 20, 2018. 
  8. ^ Miranda, Carolina (15 May 2015). "Behind the impasse that led USC's 2016 MFA students to withdraw in protest". Retrieved 26 June 2015. 
  9. ^ "List of Galleries". Retrieved 2014-02-03. 
  10. ^ from adrian buitenhuis Plus 1 year ago Not Yet Rated (2012-03-09). "Frances Stark speaking on ''My Best Thing''". Retrieved 2014-02-03. 
  11. ^ Frances Stark, My Best Thing, NYTimes Magazine
  12. ^ "MOMA PS1". MOMA PS1. Retrieved 2014-02-03. 
  13. ^ Nancy Princenthal, "Margin Trading: Frances Stark," Art in AmericaJanuary 2011 Vol 99 Issue 1, pp. 82-89
  14. ^ "Frances Stark: Publications". Retrieved March 20, 2018. 
  15. ^ "Whitney Biennial exhibitions". 2017. Retrieved March 20, 2018. 
  16. ^ "Whitney Biennial Artist Page". Retrieved 2014-02-03. |
  17. ^ Perry Garvin Studio · · "Performa 11 Commission". Retrieved 2014-02-03. 
  18. ^ "'''' Venice Biennale review by Jerry Saltz". Retrieved 2014-02-03. 
  19. ^ "UH-OH: Frances Stark 1991-2015 - Hammer Museum". The Hammer Museum. Retrieved 2016-03-05. 
  20. ^ "Frances Stark: Intimism". Art Institute of Chicago. 2015. Retrieved March 20, 2018. 
  21. ^ "Frances Stark: This could become a gimick [sic] or an honest articulation of the workings of the mind". MIT List Visual Arts Center. Retrieved 2016-03-05. 
  22. ^ "Frances Stark: Exhibitions". Retrieved March 20, 2018. 

External links[edit]