This work is one of the first reliefs that Donald Judd made in the early 1960s. In a 1971 interview, Judd stated, “One of the first three-dimensional ones started off as a piece of canvas from a failed painting that I tried to turn up, but I couldn’t make the canvas turn up evenly. So after a while it occurred to me to change the material and use something that would curve naturally. I threw out the piece of canvas and replaced it with galvanized iron. . . . I went from low to high relief and then to free-standing works.”1
In the February 1964 issue of Arts Magazine, critic Sidney Tillim called this work the “most sensible, rigorous item” in Judd’s first solo exhibition at Green Gallery, New York (Don Judd, December 17, 1963–January 11, 1964). “Given the physical excrescence of the work,” he wrote, “the presence of paint is old hat, vestigial with illusionism; but the work’s claim upon space is real, an abstract object that verges on sculpture while retaining its pictorial axis.”2
1“Don Judd: An Interview with John Coplans,” in John Coplans, Don Judd, exh. cat. (Pasadena, CA: Pasadena Art Museum, 1971), 21.
2Sidney Tillim, “The New Avant-Garde,” Arts Magazine, February 1964, 20–21.
Tillim, Sidney. “The New Avant-Garde.” Arts Magazine, February 1964, 20–21.
Kramer, Hilton. “New York: The Season Surveyed.” Art in America, June 1964, 112.
Smith, Brydon, ed. Donald Judd: Catalogue Raisonné of Paintings, Objects, and Wood-Blocks 1960–1974. Exh. cat. Ottawa: National Gallery of Canada, 1975, 114 (DSS cat. no. 40).
Giovanni, Joseph. “Art and Unconventional Design in SoHo’s Wide-Open Spaces.” New York Times, January 31, 1985, C1, C6.
Meyer, James. Minimalism: Art and Polemics in the Sixties. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2001, 56, 58 (fig. 45).
Raskin, David. Donald Judd. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2010, 72, 73 (fig. 75), 147 (fn28).
Stockebrand, Marianne, ed. Donald Judd: The Multicolored Works. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2014, 199, 200 (fig. 1).
Judd, Donald. Donald Judd Writings.Ed. Flavin Judd and Caitlin Murray. New York: Judd Foundation and David Zwirner Books, 2016, 905 (image 53), 937 (image 90).