Historically, Los Angeles and New York have had their differences when it comes to artistic legacies. The post-war flourishing of American painting centered largely on New York City where a concentration of artists and critics also shaped the discussion of contemporary art.
Working in a different context, a number of artists in and around Los Angeles began experimenting with new ideas and materials focused on color and light in the 1960s. Their sculptures and paintings explored reflective surfaces, translucent materials, prism effects, and color gradations that create subtle and varied optical effects. Concurrently—in New York— a number of artists made serial or modular structures, which were designed to engage the viewer’s perception of space.
Donald Judd was one of the New York artists whose work defined the parameters of Minimal Art early on. His serial structures in this gallery make volume and space measurable. Side-by-side, the works of Judd and the West Coast artists reveal surprising affinities in their embrace of light and color.
In Marfa, Texas, Judd created an installation of aluminum boxes inside a hangar illuminated by natural light. Our sense of volume and weight shifts dramatically depending on the changing light conditions at that site.
, 1967, Donald Judd, American, 1928-1994, Stainless steel and blue Plexiglas, ten units, 6 x 24 x 27 in. (15.2 x 61 x 68.6 cm) each unit, Gift of the Virginia and Bagley Wright Collection, in honor of the 75th Anniversary of the Seattle Art Museum, 2014.25.35, © Judd Foundation, licensed by VAGA, New York, NY
Photo: Mark Woods.