The placement of the red glass disc at the center in this work is similar to an early work from 1962. This work is one of three reliefs for which Donald Judd used this type of found object, an eight-inch-diameter transparent red disc believed to be a red stoplight lens. The relief that Judd chose to install at the Ranch Office differs from the other two works (both in private collections) in that its sides are painted with a cadmium red light paint and sand mixture; the other two examples do not have sand on the sides.
With careful examination, the viewer can easily see the plywood back of the relief through the lens, linking it to two other works in which the back is visibly accessible, one of which, untitled, 1990, is also installed in the Ranch Office.
In an interview with art historian Lucy R. Lippard from 1968, Judd discussed his use of cadmium red light paint in his early works: “In a general way I like the quality of the color . . . its particular brightness, a particular value, and so forth, which makes the three-dimensionality of the pieces most clear. If you go to cadmium red deep, it’s too dark.”1
1 Lucy R. Lippard, interview with Donald Judd, 1968, audio and transcript, Lucy R. Lippard papers, 1930s–2010, bulk 1960s–1990, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC.
Donald Judd: Selected Works 1960–1991. Exh. cat. Saitama: The Museum of Modern Art; Shiga: The Museum of Modern Art, 1999, 11 (ill.), 34–35 (cat. no. 20), 221.