A pair of Frank Stellas from 1966 and 1967, now up at SAM.
  • A pair of Frank Stellas from 1966 and 1967, now up at SAM.

Two giant, hot Stellas are getting the royal treatment at Seattle Art Museum this season, where in fact the entire postwar collection (including the Vogel material) is beautifully, sparsely installed.

There are only, say, six works total hanging in the whole double-height contemporary gallery right now. And they're not contemporary. They're modern. The Stella on the left is the star. It's searing. "It should be called Laser Flash," a young guy walking by this weekend told his girlfriend.

The stellar Stella is Sabra I, 1967, a promised gift of the Virginia and Bagley Wright Collection. The last time it was on view at SAM was decades ago, a SAM spokeswoman said. The only place it's been shown in recent years is over at the Wright Exhibition Space hidden behind a wall of ivy on Dexter and Harrison.

Wolfeboro III, 1966, is the other Stella, made of fluorescent alkyd paint on canvas. It was an outright gift to the museum from the Wrights. Last time it was out of storage and on SAM's walls was in 2005-'06.

Earlier today, I wrote about the Wrights's most recently headline-making foray into contemporary art, which felt out of touch.

Let it never be said, though, that the Wrights don't do modernism well. The period between 1950 and 1975?—They've got that down. Get your eyeballs into SAM's modernist halls today.

(A pair of closeups of the hot pinks and oranges of Sabra I on the jump.)