The is back next Friday, 21 April at MayDay Rooms with Donald Judd’s controversial essay Specific Objects. This discussion will be chaired by . Please follow the links below for more info. If you’d like to curate the , chair the or if you’d like to have a please come to one of our events or get in touch via the .
Judd: Specific Objects
Friday, 21 April 2017, 18:00 – 20:30
88 Fleet Street, London EC4Y 1DH
Free, please book your place
Originally published in 1975, this collection of Donald Judd's writings is a sought-after classic. His uncompromising reviews avoid the familiar generalizations so often associated with artistic styles emerging during the 1950s and 60s. Here, Judd discusses in detail the work of more than 500 artists showing in New York at that time, and provides a critical account of this significant era in American art. While addressing the social and political ramifications of art production, the writings focus on the work of Jackson Pollock, Kasimir Malevich, Barnett Newman, Ad Reinhardt, John Chamberlain, Larry Poons, Kenneth Noland, and Claes Oldenburg. His 1965 "Specific Objects" essay, discussions of sculptural thought in the 60s, is included as well as Judd's notorious polemical essay, "Imperialism, Nationalism, Regionalism."
In 1962, Donald Judd created his first work in three-dimensions. Made out of wood, masonite and an asphalt pipe, this freestanding piece was the first object that he exhibited. Judd followed this piece with a second freestanding piece made out of wood and a right-angled metal pipe. He would go on to create ten major works in 1963, exhibiting eight of them, three built for the wall and five for the floor, in his one-man exhibition at the Green Gallery in New York in 1963. As Judd stated in an interview in 1971:
Not sculpture or painting, Judd called these new objects “Specific Objects.” Characterizing the qualities of this new work in a 1965 essay of the same title, Judd assessed the importance of the paintings of Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Barnett Newman and Clyfford Still in the development of three-dimensional work and references the work of his contemporaries, such as Lee Bontecou, John Chamberlain, Dan Flavin, and Claes Oldenburg, among others, as examples of this new kind of art. As Judd wrote in his last published essay of 1993:
Artists tend to be particular about how their works are exhibited, but Judd was notoriously focused on the particularities of installation spaces. He continually pursued venues for his art—like those at the Chinati Foundation—which were created or adjusted to his exact specifications and represented what he believed was the apex of how art of his generation should be installed. About the Chinati installation he , “It takes a great deal of time and thought to install work carefully. This should not always be thrown away. Most art is fragile and some should be placed and never moved again. Somewhere a portion of contemporary art has to exist as an example of what the art and its context were meant to be. Somewhere, just as the platinum-iridium meter guarantees the tape measure, a strict measure must exist for the art of this time and place.” Recently Judd’s home (which had also been an exhibition space and his studio) re-opened at . As it was the first building Judd owned and renovated, it offers an unparalleled example of how he conceived of “permanent installations” (or site-specific installation) of contemporary artworks—which he is credited with introducing there, and which are now quite commonplace in contemporary art—as well as the complex interaction between art, design, and architecture.
Three-Dimensional Works in Metal
Donald Judd rejected established terms for describing his work, particularly his three-dimensional works of art. Rather than referring to his work as sculpture, Judd developed a series of terms to describe the various forms he developed over time.
To identify Judd works in metal, most of which were untitled, a combination of fabricator’s name and date was used on shop records as follows: Fabricator YY-##. For example, Bernstein 91-02 would indicate the second work of art ordered in the year 1991. When speaking with Judd Foundation staff or a conservator about a Judd work, this number should be provided as a reference.
The is back again on Friday, 21 April with a discussion of Specific Objects, a 1965 essay by Donald Judd. This discussion will be chaired by .
If you’ve ever taken a course about modern and contemporary art history, chances are you know that Minimalist sculptor Donald Judd wrote the lively essay “Specific Objects” in 1965. But you may not know that Judd wrote throughout his thirty-five-year career. Fortunately, the Judd Foundation has released a new book of his writings, edited by his son, Flavin Judd, and Caitlin Murray. Though it lacks the terrific capsule reviews he wrote for Arts Magazinebetween 1962 and 1965, the extremely compact and well-designed 1,052-page tome includes a great deal of previously unpublished material, and it is worth owning and reading.