Donald JUDD<br/>
<em>Untitled</em> (1969-1971) <!-- (front view) --><br />

aluminium, transparent synthetic polymer resin<br />
84.3 x 122.0 x 173.0 cm<br />
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne<br />
Felton Bequest, 1974<br />
EA6-1974<br />
© Donald Judd/VAGA, New York. Licensed by Copyright Agency, Australia

‘A shape, a volume, a colour, a surface is something in itself. It shouldn’t be concealed as part of a fairly different whole.’
Donald Judd

Donald Judd began his career as a painter but in the 1960s started working in three dimensions, believing real space to be ‘more powerful and specific than paint on a flat surface’ (Johnson 1982, p. 106).

At a time when many artists were working in gestural and expressive painting styles, Judd began working with geometric forms of great architectural simplicity. His work is often associated with Minimalism, although he did not like this term. In Minimal art the visual elements are reduced to a minimum to concentrate attention on the visual qualities of the materials and elements used. Minimal art rejected the idea that art should convey emotion or create illusion.

Judd favoured metals such as painted steel, aluminium or galvanized iron as sculptural materials, sometimes in combination with materials such as Perspex, unpolished laminated wood and concrete’  (NGV touchscreen 2002–2003).  His works are carefully built by skilled workers to precise specifications to obtain a perfect finish. ‘A favourite form was the box, closed, semi-hollow or transparent, presented neutrally so as to prevent any symbolic connotation’ (NGV touchscreen 2002–2003).

Classroom discussion:

  • Judd’s work is thought to have revolutionised ideas about sculpture. How does Untitled differ from more traditional forms of sculpture? Consider its visual qualities, how it is made, materials used, and its presentation.
  • The relationship between the viewer, the object and the environment was important to Judd. How do the materials, form, size and presentation of Untitled create a relationship with the viewer and the environment?

C. Green in T. Gott, L. Benson & contributors, 20th Century Painting and Sculpture in the International Collections of the National Gallery of Victoria, NGV Melbourne, 2003.

E. H. Johnson (ed.), American Artists on Art – from 1940–1980, New York, 1982.
NGV touchscreen research, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, 2002–2003.