• Judd on Phenomena

    Author(s):
    Adrian Kohn (see profile)
    Date:
    2007
    Group(s):
    History of Art
    Subject(s):
    Art criticism, Art history
    Item Type:
    Article
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/M6NT3F
    Abstract:
    Donald Judd’s 1964 essay 'Specific Objects' probably remains his most well-known. In it, he described new artworks characterized by, among other features, 'a quality as a whole' instead of conventional 'part-by-part structure,' the 'use of three dimensions' and 'real space' as opposed to depiction, 'new materials [that] aren’t obviously art,' and the unadorned appearance and 'obdurate identity' of materials as they are. Judd held that the 'shape, image, color and surface' of these objects were more 'specific,' that is to say, 'more intense, clear and powerful,' than in previous art. While these positions demonstrate Judd’s subjective preferences as an artist and art critic, they also convey some of the wider debates driving American avant-garde practices in the 1960s, such as the supposed 'insufficiencies of painting and sculpture' as mediums. Art historians tend to find such breadth appealing of course - sweeping statements bring retrospective order to what was actually haphazard and unruly. But Judd knew that you lose much in eliminating complexity for the sake of clarity. He emphasized this point in his earlier essay 'Local History' so as to qualify the more general of his own arguments. 'The history of art and art’s condition at any time are pretty messy,' he declared. 'They should stay that way.'
    Metadata:
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    5 months ago
    License:
    All Rights Reserved

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