Objects

In 1962, Donald Judd created his first work in three dimensions. Made out of wood, masonite and an asphalt pipe, this freestanding piece was the first object that he exhibited. Judd followed this piece with a second freestanding piece made out of wood and a right-angled metal pipe. He would go on to create ten major works in 1963, exhibiting eight of them, three built for the wall and five for the floor, in his solo exhibition at the Green Gallery in New York. As Judd stated in an interview in 1971, “I was surprised when I made those first two freestanding pieces, to have something set out into the middle of the room. It puzzled me. On the one hand, I didn’t quite know what to make of it, and on the other, they suddenly seemed to have an enormous number of possibilities. It looked at that point and from then on that I could do anything. Anyway, I certainly didn’t think I was making sculpture.”

Not sculpture or painting, Judd characterized the qualities of this new work in a 1965 essay titled “Specific Objects.” Judd assessed the importance of the paintings of Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Barnett Newman, and Clyfford Still in the development of three-dimensional work and references the work of his contemporaries, such as Lee Bontecou, John Chamberlain, Dan Flavin, and Claes Oldenburg, among others, as examples of this new kind of art. As Judd wrote in his last published essay of 1993, “Before the right angle and its predecessor, all ‘sculpture’ was placed on a pedestal…Nothing had ever been placed directly on the floor….Since now it is common for work to be placed anywhere in a room, it is impossible for people to understand that placement on the floor and the absence of a pedestal were inventions. I invented them.”

Judd oversaw the publication of the Donald Judd: Catalogue Raisonné of Paintings, Objects, and Wood-Blocks 1960-1974, edited by Dudley Del Balso, Brydon Smith, and Roberta Smith, on the occasion of his retrospective exhibition at the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, in 1975. A comprehensive catalogue raisonné of paintings, objects, and wood-blocks is currently in the research phase.

Judd rejected established terms for describing his work, particularly his three-dimensional works of art. Rather than referring to his work as sculpture, he developed a series of terms to describe the various forms he developed over time.

Floor Piece
A floor piece is a freestanding Judd work that rests directly on the floor without a pedestal, and at a considerable distance from other works of art. A floor piece may consist of one single structure or multiple units with a defined spatial relationship that as a whole comprises the work of art.

Wall Piece
A wall piece consists of one single unit or multiple units, usually rectangular in shape, hanging on the wall. These works are often referred to using terms that relate to their structure or orientation (i.e., single unit or multiple unit “stacks,” “wall units,” horizontal wall pieces, progressions, bullnose, or “meter boxes”) or place of fabrication (enameled aluminum wall pieces, first made by Swiss fabricator Lehni and subsequently by other fabricators, are often referred to as “Swiss pieces”).

Fabrication Stamp
To identify Judd works in metal, most of which were untitled, a combination of fabricator’s name and date was used on shop records as follows: Fabricator YY-##. For example, Bernstein 91-02 would indicate the second work of art ordered in the year 1991. When speaking with Judd Foundation staff or a conservator about a Judd work, this number should be provided as a reference.

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Untitled, 1963

Judd Foundation

Untitled, 1962

Judd Foundation

Untitled, 1963

Judd Foundation

Untitled, 1963

Judd Foundation

Untitled, 1966

Whitney Museum of American Art

Untitled, 1966

Judd Foundation

Untitled, 1967

The Museum of Modern Art, New York

Untitled, 1967

Seattle Art Museum

Untitled, 1968

Judd Foundation

Untitled, 1963

Judd Foundation

Untitled, 1968

Judd Foundation

Untitled, 1968

The Museum of Modern Art, New York

Untitled, 1970

Judd Foundation

Untitled, 1971

The Glass House

Untitled, 1974

Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Untitled, 1974-1976

Collection Van Abbemuseum

Untitled, 1975

Judd Foundation

Untitled, 1977

Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Untitled, 1970

Judd Foundation

Untitled, 1988

Judd Foundation

Untitled, 1991

Judd Foundation

Untitled, 1992

Judd Foundation

Untitled, 1991

Judd Foundation

Untitled, 1992

Judd Foundation

Untitled, 1992

Judd Foundation

Untitled, 1989

Judd Foundation

Untitled, 1993

Judd Foundation

Untitled, 1993

Judd Foundation

Untitled, 1988

Dallas Museum of Art

Untitled, 1970

Dallas Museum of Art

Untitled, 1969

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

Untitled, 1984

Laumeier Sculpture Park Collection

Untitled, 1985

Private collection, Los Angeles, CA

Untitled, 1984

Museum Wiesbaden

Untitled, 1970

Walker Art Center

Untitled, 1967

Walker Art Center

Untitled, 1969/1982

Walker Art Center

Untitled, 1971

Walker Art Center

Untitled, 1968

Walker Art Center

Untitled, 1965

Walker Art Center

Untitled, 1984

Whitney Museum of American Art

Untitled, 1968

Whitney Museum of American Art