Donald Judd (American, 1928–1994),
brass and blue anodized aluminum, 40 ½ x 84 x 6 ¾ in.; 102.87 x 213.36 x 17.15 cm
Museum purchase, 1984.16; Art © Judd Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY
Judd's ideas about art developed in a period when American artists were intensely involved in rethinking the fundamentals. Every aspect of art, from its conception, logic, and materials to its environment, was questioned. Judd, in particular, was anxious to divorce his work from what he considered European-derived conventions, such as compositional arrangement and allusion to the natural world. While Judd's work is often referred to as "minimal" or "reductive" because of his reliance on a plain geometric structure and uninflected surfaces, he disliked the term "minimal" in describing his art because it implied something was missing. He felt that color, form and scale were no less complex or less represented in his work than in other works of art.
Joslyn's sculpture originated in a brass and blue-lacquered galvanized iron work that Judd made in November 1964. It was the first example in metal that employed the horizontal square tube so prominent in his later years. Following his usual procedure, Judd made four more versions of this 1964 work, including Joslyn's untitled piece of 1982.
Judd's constructions are carefully composed so that materials support themselves and are equal in emphasis to the form rather than subservient or added to it. One is acutely aware of the properties of Judd's materials--their mass, their sheen, their tensile strength, their hardness, their color. In looking at his works, we are directly involved with the physical object, which is only related to other things of similar nature.
While Judd's objects do not refer to the natural world and are autonomous, they nevertheless are of the twentieth century, their materials being the building blocks of modern living.