Donald Judd: Variations on a Theme
Variations on a Theme showcases Untitled (1977–78), a series of 16 etchings from the Museum’s permanent collection.
Though he resisted the title, Donald Judd (1928–1994) was a towering figure in the Minimal art movement of the 1960s and 1970s. As with many of his Pop Art and Minimalist contemporaries, Judd created works that engage the space around them.
Consistent with his three-dimensional constructions, which Judd called called “Specific Objects,” this series of etchings comprises geometric images with slight variations, demonstrating the diversity of form possible under scrupulous parameters. Each unique combination of clean, straight lights and precisely tweaked angles changes our perception of the prints, which were produced by Judd’s father, Roy, a printmaker.
Throughout his career, Judd extended his practice from two- and three-dimensional fine art to furniture and architecture. One of the first artists to convert a former industrial loft into a living and work space in SoHo, Judd later purchased abandoned army barracks in Marfa, Texas, as a space to work outdoors and to contend with the desert landscape itself. His goals were not just aesthetic but deeply rooted in environmental concerns. In addition to reusing industrial space and materials in the production of his art, Judd’s Marfa project was twinned with the burgeoning environmental preservation movement of the 1970s.