AUGUST 12, 2001-MARCH 31, 2002
THE ESSENTIAL DONALD JUDD
"Any combining, mixing, adding, diluting, exploiting, vulgarizing, or popularizing of abstract art deprives art of its essence and depraves the artist's artistic consciousness. Art is free, but it is not a free-for-all." --Donald Judd, 1965
Donald Judd (1928-1994) was one of the foremost practitioners of Minimal
Art, which had its apex in the late 1960s and early 1970s. In the wake
of Abstract Expressionism and its highly subjective, mystical focus, Judd
and other Minimalists sought to create a depersonalized art in which the
physical properties of space, scale, and materials were explored as phenomena
of interest on their own, rather than as metaphors for human experience.
"A shape, a volume, a color, a surface is something itself," Judd wrote.
"It shouldn't be concealed as part of a fairly different whole."
In the 1960s, Judd became well known for sleek, boxlike constructions
made of industrial materials such as plywood, sheet metal, and plexiglass
that were painted using commercial techniques. Stacked, aligned, cantilevered,
or centered, their strict geometric arrangements--often derived from mathematical
progressions--eliminate the idea of composition and achieve a singular
focus on the object itself. They combine elements of architecture, sculpture,
and painting, and though they are resolutely three-dimensional, Judd refused
to call them sculpture, a term he associated with the hand-crafted art
of an earlier era. Instead, he referred to them as "specific objects"--a
phrase meant to suggest their neutral, discrete nature.