Donald Judd: Paintings

MIAMI—Donald Judd: Paintings” opens at The Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami marks the first museum exhibition dedicated to 14 rarely exhibited or published paintings, created from 1959 to 1961, crucial transitional years when the artist was experimenting with form and color in order to further develop his ideas on work in three dimension. Though Judd is commonly associated with large-scale sculptures, he experimented in painting with surface, form, space, and color, as well as unique curved forms and patterns, and his ideas about painting were central to informing the relationship between the representation of space and painting that is evident across his work.

The Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami (ICA Miami), Donald Judd,
Donald Judd, untitled, 1961. © Judd Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

The exhibition offers an expanded understanding of the artist through this understudied facet of his practice. These paintings, which have not been on view together previously, reveal Judd’s transition from figuration to abstract compositions of color and lines that manifest his prevailing interest in structure and space. In the year following his creation of these paintings, these elements evolved into Judd’s three-dimensional works and grounded the next three decades of his practice.

The paintings on view highlight a number of themes at their nascent stages and see the artist experimenting with key motifs, including his use of dense cadmium red and layered serial pattens. Accompanying the paintings will be one of Judd’s curved sculptures, untitled (1964), which represents the artist’s constant experimentation with the intersections between painting and sculpture, form and light.

One of the most significant artists of the twentieth century, the radical ideas and work of Donald Judd (b. 1928, Excelsior Springs, Missouri; d. 1994, New York) continue to provoke and influence the fields of art, architecture, and design. Before transitioning to work in three dimensions, Judd began as a painter and an art critic, having studied philosophy and art history at Columbia University and painting at the Art Students League. He developed his idea of the permanent installation of his work and collections first in New York, at 101 Spring Street, and later in Marfa, Texas. Throughout his lifetime Judd advocated for the importance of art and artistic expression; he regarded land preservation, empirical knowledge, and engaged citizenship as fundamental aspects of society and he wrote extensively on these and other subjects.

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Donald Judd
untitled, 1960. Oil on canvas Donald Judd Art © Judd Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York Image © Judd Foundation

For almost four decades, Judd exhibited throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia with his work in museum collections worldwide. Major exhibitions of his work include the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (1968, 1988); the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa (1975); Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven (1970); and Tate Modern, London (2004).

“Donald Judd: Paintings” is organized by ICA Miami and curated by Ellen Salpeter, ICA Miami Director; Alex Gartenfeld, Deputy Director and Chief Curator; and Flavin Judd, Curator and Co-President of Judd Foundation.

The exhibition is on view from Apr 5 to Jul 15, 2018 at The Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami (ICA Miami).

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