Press Release

Donald Judd

Tate Modern  Level 4
19 September 2002 – 19 January 2003

Next year, Tate Modern and the Stedelijk Museum will collaborate on the first major survey of the work of Donald Judd (1928-1994) since the artist’s death. The exhibition will be the first full retrospective of Judd, one of the most influential American artists of his time.

Donald Judd began his career in the 1950s as a writer on art, and continued throughout his life to produce a distinguished body of writing. After briefly making highly reductive paintings, by 1962 he was making reliefs and fully three-dimensional work. In 1971 he acquired a disused army base in Marfa, Texas, where he was able to show in permanent installations both his own work and that of artists he admired.

Judd’s sculpture is both elegantly austere and surprisingly sensual. The power of his severely rectilinear and often serial works lies in their overwhelming presence. Arranged along the wall, across the floor, or rising in stacks, his work has a powerful, physical and optical presence and often incorporate the space around them. To the surprise of some, from the mid-eighties vibrant colour played an increasing part in his work and he is now seen as an important colourist. At the time of his death in 1994, the New York Times observed ‘By the late 1960s, his sleek cubic and rectilinear works had helped redefine the direction of postwar sculpture’.

The exhibition begins with a remarkable series of handmade works from the early 1960s. These illustrate Judd’s development of a new vocabulary of sculptural form. The exhibition then explores Judd’s floor and wall-based box works of the 1960s and 1970s made from industrial materials such as galvanised iron, steel, plexiglass and plywood, and the wall-mounted stacks and progressions, which often have a subtly decorative finish, using brightly coloured lacquer or polished metals such as copper or stainless steel. The exhibition moves through the 1980s with a series of unusually coloured wall pieces of bolted steel, as well as a series of floor pieces from 1989, in which light, reflections, colour and volume work together to create works of great subtlety and beauty.

The exhibition is curated by Nicholas Serota, Director of Tate, and Rudi Fuchs, Director of the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, and will benefit from their long standing personal and professional relationship with the artist and his oeuvre. The exhibition is also being organised in close collaboration with the Judd and Chinati Foundations, the institutions founded by the artist in Marfa, Texas and with the Marianne Stockebrand, Curator and Director of Chinati. It will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue, additionally reproducing works related to those in the exhibition as well as views of Judd’s installed works. It will include essays by the two curators and additional essays, selected writings by and interviews with Donald Judd.

Opening hours: Sun - Thurs 10.15 - 18.00 Fri & Sat 10.15 - 22.00
Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam: May 2002 - August 2002