MoMA announces 2017 Donald Judd retrospective
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) has announced that it is to deliver what it says is the most extensive exhibition of the work of the late American artist Donald Judd in the autumn of 2017.
Led by Ann Temkin, MoMA’s Marie-Josée and Henry Kravis, chief curator of painting and sculpture, the major retrospective will feature more than 100 of his works from public and private collections around the world.
Judd is considered to be one of the foremost post-war minimalist sculptors, who along with Agnes Martin, Robert Morris and Frank Stella, among others, developed a more reduced artistic aesthetic in the sixties and seventies that was “the simple expression of complex thought”.
This was how he preferred to describe his thought-provoking practice. He refused, stringently so, to categorise it under the label of minimalism, objecting to this framing of his work.
There was no pretension in this for his commit to his craft was principally for himself. As he once said in 1983: “I made my work to be intelligible to me, with the casual assumption that if it made sense to me, it would to someone else.”
However, along with his writings – in particular his 1965 essay Specific Objects – he came to be understood within the parameters of this movement, particularly that of sculpture, and remains deeply associated with it.
“In the three-dimensional work the whole thing is made according to complex purposes, and these are not scattered but asserted by one form,” Judd expounded in his in his paper.
“It isn’t necessary for a work to have a lot of things to look at, to compare, to analyze one by one, to contemplate. The thing as a whole, its quality as a whole, is what is interesting. The main things are alone and are more intense, clear and powerful.”
It will be interesting then to see how MoMA will assess Judd, although it does say that the exhibition intends to deliver a “multifaceted perspective” that will “advance scholarship” on his art.
“Half a century after Judd established himself as a leading figure of his time, his legacy demands to be considered anew,” commented Ms Temkin. “The show will cover the entire arc of Judd’s career, including not only quintessential objects from the 1960s and 1970s, but also works made before he arrived at his iconic formal vocabulary, and selections from the remarkable developments of the 1980s.”
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