David Zwirner is pleased to announce Artworks: 1970–1994, a survey exhibition devoted to Donald Judd that will be on view across all three of the gallery’s West 19th Street locations in New York. Presented concurrently with The Museum of Modern Art’s full-scale retrospective, this exhibition will focus on a selection of works within Judd’s oeuvre drawn from both public and private collections.
With the intention of creating straightforward work without recourse to grand philosophical statements, Judd eschewed the classical ideals of representational sculpture to create a rigorous visual vocabulary that defines objects as its primary mode of articulation. The unaffected, direct quality of his work demonstrates Judd’s strong interest in color, form, material, and space, thus establishing him as one of the most significant American artists of the postwar period.
Rigorously experimental, Judd would often challenge his own axioms—altering his materials, sequencing, and formats. Exceptional, but in line with Judd’s thinking about material, proportion, and color, the works in the show range from expansive installations to self-contained single units, yielding valuable new insights into his process and masterful approach to form. As the artist described it in 1987, “I’m very meticulous about the logic of my pieces. But you should only consider logic up to a certain point, because, after all, all the interesting stuff is something else.”
Curated by Flavin Judd, artistic director of Judd Foundation, the exhibition will include one of the artist’s largest and most intricate installations conceived of by Judd from 1986, comprised of thirty wall-mounted plywood boxes. Each box measures one meter by one meter and is backed with acrylic sheets in various colors. Last presented in New York in Judd’s 1988 solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art, where it debuted, the installation is organized according to a complex internal logic that is at once mathematical and visible.
Also featured will be a large-scale work from 1970 consisting of galvanized iron panels each measuring five feet tall and placed end to end flat against a wall so as to create a contiguous band along the perimeter of the room, emphasizing the gallery space as an integral component of the work. Originally created for the front room of the Leo Castelli Gallery on East 77th Street in New York, this architectural incursion engages the viewer phenomenologically.
Other works present variations on some of Judd’s most recognizable forms, executed in materials such as Cor-ten steel, copper, plywood, brushed aluminum, and enameled aluminum. These include two nearly twelve-foot-long multicolor aluminum boxes stacked vertically, a copper wall-mounted box featuring a patterned progression of divisions, and a stack of six Cor-ten steel boxes backed with black acrylic sheets with undulating internal divisions, among others.
On the occasion of the exhibition, an extensive catalogue featuring new texts on the artist is forthcoming from David Zwirner Books.
The work of Donald Judd (1928–1994) has been exhibited internationally since the 1950s. His first significant solo shows were held at the Green Gallery, New York (1964), and the Leo Castelli Gallery, New York (1966). The artist’s first museum survey took place in 1968 at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, followed by a traveling European survey exhibition in 1970 organized by the Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, The Netherlands, which traveled to the Museum Folkwang, Essen, Germany; Kunstverein, Hannover, Germany; and Whitechapel Art Gallery, London. In 1975, the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, presented a notable solo exhibition of the artist’s work that was accompanied by the publication of a catalogue raisonné. From 1987 to 1988, the Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, The Netherlands, mounted , which traveled to Städtische Kunsthalle, Düsseldorf; Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris; Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona; and Castello di Rivoli, Turin. The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, presented Donald Judd in 1988, which then traveled to the Dallas Museum of Art the following year.
In 2004, a survey of the artist’s work was organized by Tate Modern, London, and traveled to K20 Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf, and Kunstmuseum Basel. Other important exhibitions include Donald Judd: Colorist, held at the Sprengel Museum, Hannover, Germany, as well as Kunsthaus Bregenz, Austria, and Musée d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain, Nice, from 2000 to 2001; , which traveled from Kunsthalle Bielefeld, Germany, to The Menil Collection, Houston, from 2002 to 2003; Donald Judd: a good chair is a good chair, a comprehensive presentation of the artist’s furniture and related drawings organized by Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, England, in 2010; and Donald Judd: The Multicolored Works at the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, St. Louis, Missouri, in 2013. In 2018, the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, presented Donald Judd: Paintings, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art organized Donald Judd: Specific Furniture. A retrospective of the artist's work is currently on view at The Museum of Modern Art, New York through January 9, 2021.
In 1977, Judd established the idea for Judd Foundation, which was founded to preserve his art, spaces, libraries, and archives in New York and Marfa, Texas. In 1986, the artist established The Chinati Foundation/La Fundación Chinati in Marfa, specifically for the permanent installation of large-scale works by both himself and his contemporaries. Permanent installations of Judd’s work can be found at Judd Foundation in New York City, at 101 Spring Street, and Marfa, Texas, along with the neighboring Chinati Foundation.
Judd Foundation (Rainer Judd, president, and Flavin Judd, artistic director) has been represented by David Zwirner since 2010. This is the gallery’s fifth solo presentation of the artist’s work.
In 2019, Judd Foundation and David Zwirner Books co-published Donald Judd Interviews, which expands upon the artist’s thinking present in the 2016 publication Donald Judd Writings (Judd Foundation/David Zwirner Books).
Judd’s work is included in numerous important museum collections around the world.
1“‘Donald Judd’s Little Logic,’ Interview with Catherine Millet for Artpress, April, 1987,” in Flavin Judd and Caitlin Murray, eds., Donald Judd Interviews (New York and Marfa, Texas: Judd Foundation and David Zwirner Books, 2019), p. 590.