Mignoni Gallery on the Upper East side of Manhattan is currently presenting an exhibition that juxtaposes Donald Judd’s aluminum wall sculptures and Kennet Noland’s geometric striped canvases.
“Untitled (Bernstein 88-14)” red anodized aluminum from 1988 explores the concept of positive and negative space. The solid raised rectangular boxes go from large to small, from left to right. The empty spaces between go from small to large from left to right. Judd’s horizontal structure creates a sense of linear movement across the wall of the gallery.
Noland’s “Galore” from 1996 is also an horizontal construction. The long flattened diamond shaped canvas is painted with a series of colorful straight lines. But instead of going straight across the wall, they run parallel to the lower left and upper right sides of the rhombus. This angled formation leaves the viewer slightly unbalanced.
Donald Judd put the town of Marfa, Texas on the art world map. He founded this amazing museum, so that large conceptual art installations could be on permanent display. Originally this project was in conjunction with DIA but now it is supported by the independent Chinati Foundation. The museum is situated in the high desert of Western Texas with views of the Chinati mountain range. Art can be seen both in large re-purposed military buildings and outside on the expansive grounds.
Access to the interior galleries is limited to pre-arranged tours but Judd’s iconic work “Untitled, 15 works in concrete” from 1980-1984 can be visited without reservations.
The 15 arrangements of concrete rectangular solids consist of a total of 60 forms all fabricated on site. All have of these elements have the same exterior measurements of 2.5 meters high by 2.5 meters deep by 5 meters long. The slabs of concrete are 25 centimeters thick. The grouping of forms are situated in a straight line and 60 meters apart over a length of 1 kilometer. Each arrangement has between 3 and 6 of the concrete sculptural elements. Judd’s placement of the rectangular open blocks is also mathematically specific relying on a series of ratios to best differentiate the 15 installations and the shadows created by the natural light.
I went to visit the site twice. Once in the bright sun of mid morning and again in the late afternoon. The pictures above were taken during my afternoon visit. The angles of the shadows, both within the concrete forms and on the landscape varies dramatically. By creating a set of numerical rules that allowed for a uniformity of the elements then exploring 15 permutations for this these building blocks in a dramatic setting Judd has provided the viewer an amazing experience to feel a physical connection to the art.