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 whole, is what is interesting. The main things are alone and are more intense, clear and powerful.
—— Donald Judd
Donald Judd was an influential American artist whose oeuvre has come to define what has been referred to as Minimalist art—a label the artist strongly objected to. In his work, Judd sought autonomy and clarity for the constructed object and the space created by it, ultimately achieving a rigorously democratic presentation without compositional hierarchy. It created an outpouring of seemingly effervescent works that defied the term “minimalism”. Nevertheless, he is generally considered the leading international exponent of “minimalism,” and its most important theoretician through such seminal writings as “Specific Objects” (1964). His idea of making “specific objects” that are neither paintings or sculptures provides a new perspective to rethink the definition of art. His sculptures and installations, constructed out of industrial materials such as Plexiglas, concrete, and steel and arranged in precise geometric shapes, were intended to emphasize the purity of the objects themselves rather than any symbolic meaning they might have. Judd produced and exhibited a large number of his iconic forms.These range from what are referred to as “stacks”, which are hung at even intervals from floor to ceiling; “progressions”, whose measurements follow simple numerical sequences; bull-nosed shaped protrusions from the wall; and box-like forms that are installed directly on the floor. The shift from the artist’s studio any hands-on art making to professional sheet-metal fabricators would hold great importance for the then-rising generation of Conceptual artists, who held that ideas themselves, exempt from any materialization, can exist as art. In his later years, Judd also worked with furniture, design, and architecture. His particular interest in architecture led him to design both the sculptures and the spaces in which they would be contained, influencing a generation of artists and designers from Anish Kapoor to David Batchelor. Throughout his life, Judd continued to publish articles advocating the value of critical thought and the importance of artists to society.