David Zwirner currently features Artworks: 1970–1994, a survey exhibition devoted to Donald Judd on view across all three of the gallery’s in New York. Presented concurrently with The Museum of Modern Art’s full-scale retrospective running until 9th January 2021, this exhibition is curated by Flavin Judd, artistic director of Judd Foundation. “I had always considered my work another activity of some kind” the artist once said.
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 colour, the works in the Zwirner 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.”
The show includes 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 colours. 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 is 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.
Image: installation view, Donald Judd, Artworks: 1970 – 1994, David Zwirner, New York, 2020. Courtesy David Zwirner.