Donald Judd

(b. 1928, Excelsior Springs, Missouri – d. 1994, New York)

Working in New York in the 1960s, Judd became known as one of the key exponents of Minimalism, a label that he strongly rejected. Although his practice shared stylistic traits with other artists of his time, such as the use of clarity of color, hard-edged forms, use of common mass materials, Judd preferred to describe his own work as “the simple expression of complex thought.” In the early 1960s, Judd developed entirely free-standing structures that he called “specific objects,” and established an essential vocabulary of forms – “stacks,” “boxes” and “progressions,” which preoccupied him for the next thirty years. He refused the traditional charcteristics of artistic expression and craftsmanship by using industrial materials such as Plexiglass, sheet-metal and plywood, and from the mid-1960s onwards his works were fabricated by manufacturers in workshops and factories.

By encouraging others to concentrate on the volume and presence of his structures and the space around them, Judd’s work drew particular attention to the relationship between the object, the viewer, and their environment. A major aspect of Judd’s work is the perception and awareness of spatial conditions and how these are determined by the position of the body with respect to the object. Judd’s work shares similarities with the psychology of perception as he no longer refers to anything in particular, but examines how certain typographies in a particular space are to be observed. In Untitled (1974-1976), Judd introduces a clear way of expressing sculptural space through “empty” space. Instead of providing an artistic position or aesthetic to desire, the aim of Judd’s boxes was that they do “as little as possible.”