Addison Gallery of American Art, Phillips Academy - Untitled

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Image of Untitled

Donald Judd , (Jun 3, 1928–Feb 12, 1994)

Untitled

1984
11 9/16 in. x 35 7/16 in. (29.37 cm x 90.01 cm)

Medium and Support: Pulver on aluminum
Credit Line: Gift of Frank Stella (PA 1954), Addison Art Drive
Accession Number: 1991.45

Commentary

In 1983 Donald Judd was invited to contribute an outdoor piece for an exhibition in Switzerland. To avoid costly shipping from the United States, he partnered with Lehni AG, a Swiss company who could bend thin sheets of aluminum and enamel them in a variety of colors. This collaboration led to a series of wall pieces, of which the Addison’s sculpture is one, and a dramatically expanded palette—which was previously limited to the pre-existing hues of industrial metals and Plexiglas. Lehni’s commercial paints offered the artist a new way to fuse painting and sculpture, color and form, object and concept.
Deceptively simple in appearance, Untitled is in fact composed of a complicated set of rules. Comprised of open boxes screwed to one another so that their openings face outwards and the center of the piece remains hollow, combinations of four colors are built up in two-color pairs, one above the other. Rotated on their axis the colors flip position on the reverse side. The top of the work repeats the colors of the lower row of the front, while the underside assumes the colors of the upper row. Finally, the colors are arranged in such a way that that they progress diagonally from panel to panel and across the top to form a spiral that comprises all four colors. Mounted on the wall, protruding into space, and born out of an overarching system of compositional combinations, Untitled transcends traditional distinctions of media to become equal parts painting, sculpture, and idea.

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