Meg Webster: Two Walls 1984/2022
Two Walls 1984/2022
March 25–May 21, 2022
101 Spring Street
New York, NY
Judd Foundation is pleased to present Two Walls 1984/2022, an exhibition of two works by Meg Webster on the ground floor of 101 Spring Street in New York. For Two Walls 1984/2022, Webster has remade two works, Soft Broch (1984/2022) and Long Gates (1984/2022), which comprised her solo exhibition of the same title at 101 Spring Street in 1984.
The two works, Soft Broch and Long Gates, are made from earthen materials, hay and rammed earth, respectively. Based on the simple geometry of a square and a circle, each work is an enterable form, a square in rammed earth and a circle in hay, which function as meeting places. The works were first made in 1983, not long after a nuclear war scare with Russia in fall of that year, and now made again in 2022 at a time of climate crisis and on-going human-caused mass extinction.1 With these grave challenges in mind, the works focus the viewer’s attention on the symbiosis between humans and the natural world. As Webster stated in a 2016 interview, “I want you to love more. I want you to care more…It’s about caring for the structure of nature.”2
Webster began making sculptures in sand in organic and geometric shapes in the late 1970s. Inspired by the work of Donald Judd, Robert Morris, Carl Andre, and Michael Heizer, whom she worked for as an assistant in 1983, Webster also creates large-scale installations that encourage correspondence between natural materials and the body. Soft Broch, the title given to the piece by Judd during installation, is a reference to brochs, Scottish Iron Age roundhouses that were likely used as places of refuge for people and livestock.
Judd and Webster met in 1983 during Webster’s tenure as a student in the MFA program at Yale University, likely around the time of Judd’s lecture at the Yale University School of Art on September 23, 1983.3 After seeing her work at Yale, Judd invited Webster to have an exhibition on the ground floor of 101 Spring Street. Two Walls (January 17–February 18, 1984) was Webster’s first solo exhibition in New York City. Webster credits her exhibition at 101 Spring Street with the opportunity to produce her first large-scale outdoor work, Hollow, the following year (1985) at the Nassau County Museum of Fine Art. Webster’s recent exhibition, Wave, at The Arts Center at Governor’s Island (June 12–October 31, 2021) included newly commissioned works and pieces from 1989 to the present. A long-term presentation of Webster’s work will open at Dia Beacon in Beacon, New York in 2023.
Two Walls 1984/2022 is part of Judd Foundation’s ongoing exhibition series. Since 2015, Judd Foundation has organized exhibitions of works by Alvar Aalto, John Chamberlain, Dan Flavin, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Donald Judd, Yayoi Kusama, Richard Long, James Rosenquist, and Lauretta Vinciarelli. These exhibitions continue a practice begun by Judd of using the ground floor as a public exhibition space. During his lifetime, Judd organized exhibitions at 101 Spring Street of the work of Richard Paul Lohse, Yun Hyong-keun, Robert Irwin, and John Wesley among other artists, as well as group exhibitions to benefit the War Resisters League.
1 Nate Jones and David E. Hoffman, “Newly released documents shed light on 1983 nuclear war scare with Soviets,” The Washington Post, February 2021, [Page #], https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/soviet-nuclear-war-able-archer/2021/02/17/711fa9e2-7166-11eb-93be-c10813e358a2_story.html; Cowie, R.H., Bouchet, P. and Fontaine, B. (2022), The Sixth Mass Extinction: fact, fiction or speculation?. Biol Rev. https://doi.org/10.1111/brv.12816.
2 “Meg Webster: I Want You to Care More.” Video. YouTube. Posted by Out of Sync, June 2016. https://ww.youtube.com/watch?v=PgZhmsiG1X4.
3 Judd published this lecture as “Art and Architecture” (1983), see Donald Judd Writings (Judd Foundation/David Zwirner Books, 2016).
About Meg Webster
Meg Webster (b. 1944, San Francisco, CA) has long been guided by an environmentalist impulse to celebrate and preserve the natural world. She produces both indoor sculptures made of salt, earth, sand, and other natural materials, and outdoor installations designed to enhance the community’s appreciation for and understanding of the earth’s ecosystem. Locations of her solo exhibitions include The Mattress Factory, Pittsburgh (1984); the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh (1991); The Brooklyn Museum, New York (1992); P.S. 1 Contemporary Arts Center, New York (1998); MoMA P.S. 1, New York (2013); and LMCC Art Center at Governor’s Island, New York (2021). In 2017, Webster participated in the two-person exhibition, Natura Naturans at Villa Panza in Varese, Italy. She also presented her large-scale earthwork, Concave Room for Bees, at Socrates Sculpture Park, commissioned for their 2016 exhibition, “LANDMARK.” Webster lives and works in New York.
Two Walls 1984/2022 is made possible with support from Agnes Gund and Paula Cooper Gallery.