Over fifty years after the initial publication of “Shape as Form: Frank Stella's Irregular Polygons,” the criticism of Michael Fried continues to define the reception of the painter's early shaped canvases. Returning to Fried's foundational account of their iterative compositions and objecthood, this essay considers how these same features were figured differently in the photographs of Hollis Frampton, in the writing of Max Imdahl, and, ultimately, in the artist's own confrontation with a nascent discourse about Minimalism in the visual arts. Stella's negative definition of his practice as “non-relational painting” suggests further points of comparison to theoretical statements by Carl Andre and the painting of François Morellet.

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