Posts from 22nd February 2004

22
Feb 04

Donald Judd at Tate Modern

The Brown WedgePost a comment • 302 views

Donald Judd at Tate Modern

I think one of the more interesting artistic phenomena of the Twentieth Century was the move by many artists away from the valorising of the artist’s touch and of craft. This was started by Duchamp with his readymades, but I think the first artist to move towards specifying art but having his work actually produced by technicians was Donald Judd, and there is a fantastic exhibition of his work on now at Tate Modern in London.

It’s interestingly partnered with a Brancusi show. He’s one of my absolute favourites, but if you’re a fan you won’t see much that you haven’t seen before. Still, going from his sleek bronze birds to Judd’s boxes and stacks feels like an important movement in Modern art. Judd’s work is a keystone of minimalism, much as he didn’t like the term, and it is pleasing to see plenty of people at a show of this vilified style. Perhaps it’s because Judd’s simple objects are lovely to look at, with their coloured plexiglass and painted aluminium being genuinely beautiful. I was an admirer already, but this terrific show, with lots of great pieces and surprising variety (it includes a couple of early paintings and transitional works), really excited me. If you’re undecided about minimalist art, do give this a try.

Paul Butler

The Brown WedgePost a comment • 266 views

Paul Butler

Paul Butler so simple, using tape to cover words in found ads, block out certain aspects of perfect landscapes, and make slick general collages. Even the title of his show is ironic, My Mad Skillz, how much skill does it take to clip an ad and tape it up, its kindergarten project. But its also culture jamming, being aware of spaces imposed and using tools to co opt them, not with ugly sloganeering, but with something common, banal, overlooked and gorgeous.

The variations are what amazes. Taupe on Orange, Silver and Blue on Sunset Orange, Black on Black, Grey on Black, white on sea-foam. Tape in patterns like fall camouflage, winter groundcover and victorian cover. Even that sickly yellow of aging cellophane. Each one of them a careful working up of subject, a stripping way of all that extraneous until some kind of revelation occurs.

They are like Richard Prince, but with out the obvious jokes. He comes from Winnipeg, too–home of The Royal Art Lodge, Plug In Gallery and some of the most talked about art in Western Canada. I saw it in Calgary, a cold, boring corporate place, and perhaps the subversive joy that occurred was inversely proportional to the hegemony outside.