A Warm Body in a Box the Late Donald Judd's Minimalism Can Seem Impersonal, Even Ascetic. Not So, Sa Ys Brydon Smith ; It Was Don Judd Who Really Made Space One of Sculpture's Primary Media He Had an Incredible Sense of Proportion. Even His Large Works Have a Human SCA Le
Smith, Brydon, The Independent (London, England)
I first met Donald Judd in the late Sixties but I'd already seen his work in 1965. It was just so different from anything else. So much so that it took me a couple of years to really understand it. It was his retrospective at the Whitney in 1967
that was the epiphany for me.
This show in Oxford gives the full range of Don's work. It's a beautifully installed selection, ranging from prints and furniture to large objects. There are woodcuts, which might surprise some people, but they suit Don. When you make a woodcut you're removing part of the block - in a sense removing the space. In this, and upstairs in the three floor-related pieces, you find the real importance of Judd. He was the artist who defined and informed values of space. Henry Moore and others had explored having holes move through an object - and through space - but it was Don who really made space one of the primary media.
In the upper galleries, one room has been devoted to a single large work. It's very serene. It's comprised of seven plywood boxes measuring 78in x 78in x 78in, made from one and a half inch thick plywood sheets. It's structurally very solid. The boxes a r e open front and back and run the full length of the gallery with intervals of 1ft between each and a 1ft gap at the end walls. It completely transforms the space into an experience you have to to move into and through. …