Donald Clarence Judd (1928 – 1994) was an American artist associated with minimalism, a term he strongly disavowed. In his work, the artist “sought autonomy and clarity for the constructed object and the space created by it” — in other words, he believed that art should not represent anything, but exist for its own sake. It is for this notion, as well as for his seminal writings, in particular, Specific Objects (1964), that he is generally considered the leading international exponent of minimalism.
In Specific Objects, Donald Judd introduces the idea of a new kind of art that is “neither painting nor sculpture.” The idea of a “specific object” is that one no longer produces art, but actual items — items that are depersonalized, with a concentration on pure form. To carry out this notion, he rejected illusionism by creating objects in three dimensional space using simple composition principles and many materials and colours, with a focus on the space occupied and created by the objects, or their purity of form. He argued that art should no longer be representational, nor presume to describe human emotion, but rather, it should just be art.
Between 1964 and 1966 the artist began working with different materials, and it was at this time that the box became a favourite form; whether closed, semi-hollow or transparent, it was always presented neutrally so as to refute any symbolic connotation. In some cases, a number of boxes were attached to a wall in the form of a stack of alternating solids and spaces of equal size, two favourite pieces of which are seen here, above and below . . .