press release

A major survey of the work of Donald Judd (1928-1994), one of the most influential artists of his time, opens at Tate Modern on 5 February 2004. The exhibition will be the first full retrospective of Donald Judd’s sculptures and coincides with the tenth anniversary of his death.

Donald Judd first came to public attention in the mid 1960s as one of a group of American artists who were referred to as ‘Minimalists’ including Dan Flavin and Sol LeWitt. These sculptors shared an interest in abstract forms, industrial materials and machine production. Judd’s essay, Specific Objects, published in 1965, is widely considered the seminal exposition of their groundbreaking approach to making art.

In 1968 Judd purchased 101 Spring Street in New York City where he developed his ideas about installed space and the nature of the studio. He lived, worked and continued to refine 101 Spring Street until his death. In 1971 Judd began living part-time in Marfa, Texas and began to acquire a number of buildings there. In the late 1970s the Dia Foundation became Judd’s partner on a substantial permanent installation project located in a former Army base on the edge of town. In 1986 the properties were transferred to the ownership of the Chinati Foundation. In Marfa he designed furniture and modified buildings to complement his sculptures, and displayed his paintings, prints and drawings along with the work of artists he admired.

Judd’s sculpture is both elegantly austere and surprisingly sensual. Arranged vertically or horizontally on the wall, across the floor, his severely rectilinear works have a powerful, physical and optical presence and incorporate the space around them. 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 post-war sculpture’. From the mid 1980s, to the surprise of some, vibrant colour played an increasing part in his work and he is now seen as an important colourist.

The exhibition, which will include around forty works, will be a full retrospective of Judd’s sculptures. It will begin with a remarkable series of paintings and handmade works from the early 1960s showing Judd’s progression from two into three dimensions, and illustrate his development of a new vocabulary of sculptural form. The exhibition will then explore Judd’s characteristic factory-made floor and wall-based works of the 1960s and 1970s made from a wide-range of industrial materials such as galvanised iron, steel, plexiglas and plywood, and polished metals such as brass and copper. The exhibition moves through the 1980s with a series of highly coloured wall pieces of bolted aluminium, and ends with his final colourful plywood and plexiglas sculpture from 1993.

The exhibition is curated by Nicholas Serota, Director of Tate, with advice from Marianne Stockebrand, Curator and Director of the Chinati Foundation. It will benefit from their personal and professional relationship with the artist and his oeuvre. The exhibition is organised with the support of the Judd Foundation founded by the artist to manage the studios, archives and rights for Judd’s work. It will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue that will include essays by Nicholas Serota, Rudi Fuchs, Richard Shiff, David Raskin and David Batchelor and catalogue entries by Marianne Stockebrand.

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Donald Judd
Kuratoren: Nicholas Serota, Marianne Stockebrand

05.02.04 - 25.04.04 Tate Modern, London
19.06.04 - 05.09.04 Kunstsammlung Nordrhein Westfalen
24.09.04 - 09.01.05 Kunstmuseum Basel / Museum für Gegenwartskunst