Donald Judd (1928-1994)
Nitrocellulose lacquer on aluminum
Overall: 8 1/4 × 253 × 8 1/4 in. (21 × 642.6 × 21 cm)
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Purchase, with funds from the Howard and Jean Lipman Foundation, Inc.
Rights and Reproductions Information
© Donald Judd Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY
In Untitled, Donald Judd paired an unpainted, matte-finished hollow transversal beam with painted, shiny, encased L-shaped brackets. These support elements set up a sequence of solids and voids that appears irregular but is conceived with mathematical exactitude. The ten metal rectangles and their intervals are alternately augmented and diminished according to a predetermined system of proportions. Progressing from the left, the length of each rectangle, painted with Harley-Davidson Hi Fi Purple lacquer, is matched by the interval between them, starting on the opposite, right side of the sculpture. The lengths of the boxes and intervals in the center of the work are exactly the same. Because the sculpture is lit from above, the shadows cast by the rectangles establish a second, even more complex, visual component. Using a formula that is at once precise and witty, Judd produced a rich interplay of surface, mass, color, negative space, and shadow. The artist’s non-naturalistic and quirky choice of color, the sensuousness of his materials, and the complexity of his composition seem to refute the reductive Minimalism with which the work is routinely identified.