Mercenary Criticism

Mercenary Criticism Donald Judd Writings, edited by Flavin Judd and Caitlin Murray, New York and Marfa, TX: Judd Foundation and David Zwirner Books, 2016, 1056 pp., 140 col. and 40 b. & w. illus., 23 £pbk‘“Non‐art”, “anti‐art”, “non‐art art”, and “anti‐art art” are all useless’, Donald Judd observes in the catalogue for the pathbreaking Primary Structures exhibition of 1966. ‘If someone says his work is art, it’s art’ (179). Although he later downplayed this comment as facetious, it remains vintage Judd for its declarative style, its foregrounding of artists’ agency, what it captures historically (in the aftermath of Jackson Pollock et al., art mattered less than good art) and as a symptom of its times (in retrospect, the suggestion in the phrase ‘his work’ that only men make art would have appalled Judd, who esteemed Lee Bontecou and Agnes Martin). This richness points to the utility of surveying Judd’s writing career against the full scope of his political, social and aesthetic concerns.The collection under review invites just such stock‐taking, bringing together as it does some of Judd’s most influential articles (key examples beyond the catalogue note quoted above include ‘Local History’ and ‘Specific Objects’ [both 1964], ‘Complaints Parts I and II’ http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Art History Wiley

Mercenary Criticism

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Publisher
Wiley Subscription Services, Inc., A Wiley Company
Copyright
© Association for Art History 2018
ISSN
0141-6790
eISSN
1467-8365
D.O.I.
10.1111/1467-8365.12377
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Donald Judd Writings, edited by Flavin Judd and Caitlin Murray, New York and Marfa, TX: Judd Foundation and David Zwirner Books, 2016, 1056 pp., 140 col. and 40 b. & w. illus., 23 £pbk‘“Non‐art”, “anti‐art”, “non‐art art”, and “anti‐art art” are all useless’, Donald Judd observes in the catalogue for the pathbreaking Primary Structures exhibition of 1966. ‘If someone says his work is art, it’s art’ (179). Although he later downplayed this comment as facetious, it remains vintage Judd for its declarative style, its foregrounding of artists’ agency, what it captures historically (in the aftermath of Jackson Pollock et al., art mattered less than good art) and as a symptom of its times (in retrospect, the suggestion in the phrase ‘his work’ that only men make art would have appalled Judd, who esteemed Lee Bontecou and Agnes Martin). This richness points to the utility of surveying Judd’s writing career against the full scope of his political, social and aesthetic concerns.The collection under review invites just such stock‐taking, bringing together as it does some of Judd’s most influential articles (key examples beyond the catalogue note quoted above include ‘Local History’ and ‘Specific Objects’ [both 1964], ‘Complaints Parts I and II’

Journal

Art HistoryWiley

Published: Jan 1, 2018

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