The Writings of Donald Judd

On May 3–4, 2008, the Chinati Foundation hosted a symposium dedicated to the writings of the late artist and museum founder Donald Judd. The symposium offered a diverse range of presentations and subjects. Among the topics considered were the relationship of Judd’s writings to his art; his use of language and syntax; Judd’s political views; how Judd produced and edited his essays; and Judd’s art criticism and its relevance today. The weekend program was moderated by Richard Shiff (Director of the Center for the Study of Modernism at the University of Texas, Austin) and featured the following lectures by the following participants:

Alan Antliff , Canada Research Chair in Art History, University of Victoria, Canada, where he teaches courses in the history of avant-garde visual art of the 20th century. Antliff is the author of Art and Anarchy: From the Paris Commune to the Fall of the Berlin Wall (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2007); Anarchist Modernism: Art, Politics, and the First American Avant-Garde (University of Chicago Press, 2001); and the editor of Only a Beginning: An Anarchist Anthology (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2004).

Mel Bochner, an artist who has been exhibiting his work internationally since the mid-1960s. His 1966 exhibition at the School of Visual Arts in New York, Working Drawings and Other Visible Things on Paper Not Necessarily Meant to Be Viewed, is regarded as a seminal moment in the origins of the Conceptual Art movement. Bochner makes works in a variety of media including painting, sculpture, performance, and photography. Bochner teaches at the Yale School of Art, and is also a well-known writer: a collection of his writings on art and writings as art, Solar Systems & Rest Rooms, will be published by the MIT Press in May 2008.

Richard Ford, Professor Emeritus at the University of Texas at El Paso, where he taught in the Department of Languages and Linguistics for thirty years. In 1990 he assumed charge of UTEP’s translation program, developing curriculum and overseeing translator certification until his retirement in December 2004. From 1995 through 2011  he translated into Spanish the contents (including many Judd writings) of the annual Chinati Foundation Newsletter, which is published bilingually.

Thomas Kellein, Director of the Kunsthalle Bielefeld, Germany, from 1996 through 2010, where he curated Donald Judd: Early Work 19551968 and published the related catalogue. He has curated international exhibitions for many years and is the author of numerous books and essays on artists such as Louise Bourgeois, Casper David Friedrich, Roni Horn, Clyfford Still, Alvar Aalto, George Maciunas, among others.

David Rabinowitch, an artist who has been exhibiting sculptures and drawings for over forty years. Two works by Rabinowitch are on permanent view in Chinati’s Arena and two temporary exhibitions of his work, Fluid Sheet Constructions and Related Drawings, 1963–64 and The Pinto Canyon Group, 19791983: Plans, Drawings, and Models, were  on view at Chinati  in 2008. Other recent exhibitions include: David Rabinowitch, Akira Ikeda Gallery, Berlin (2004–05); David Rabinowitch, National Gallery of Canada and Musee des Beaux-Arts du Canada, Ottawa, Ontario (2004); and David Rabinowitch, Musee d’Art Contemporain de Montreal, Quebec, Canada (2003).

David Raskin, Associate Professor of Art History, Theory, and Criticism at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He is the author of the monograph Donald Judd (Yale University Press, 2017) and the co-author of Donald Judd, the catalogue published by Tate Modern to coincide with its Judd retrospective in 2004. Raskin has also written essays about Judd for Art History and New Art Examiner and is co-author of Midwestern Unlike You and Me: New Zealand’s Julian Dashper (Sioux City Art Center, 2005).

Dr. Richard Shiff (Moderator), Effie Marie Cain Regents Chair in Art and director of the Center for the Study of Modernism at the University of Texas, Austin. His scholarly interests range broadly across the field of modern art from the early 19th century to the present, with an emphasis on French painting and post-war American and European art. Shiff has written extensively on the work of Donald Judd and contributed an essay to the catalogue accompanying the Judd retrospective at Tate Modern in 2004. His publications include Cézanne and the End of Impressionism (1984), Critical Terms for Art History (co-edited, 1996, 2003), Barnett Newman: A Catalogue Raisonné (co-authored, 2004), Doubt (2008), Between Sense and de Kooning (2011), Ellsworth Kelly: New York Drawings 1954–1962 (2014); and More Dimensions Than You Know: Jack Whitten, Paintings 1979–1989 (2017). Shiff is a member of Chinati’s Board of Directors.

Roberta Smith, senior art critic for the New York Times, where she began writing in 1986; previously she was an art critic for the Village Voice, Arts, Artforum, Art in America, Newsweek, and Vogue. In the mid to late 1960s she was an assistant to Donald Judd and wrote the featured essay in the Judd catalogue raisonné published by the National Gallery of Canada in 1975. In 2003 the College Art Association honored Smith with the Frank Jewett Mather Award for Art Criticism.

Karen Stein is a writer, editor, and architectural consultant. From 1998 until 2007, she was Editorial Director of Phaidon Press, the publisher of books on the arts. She joined the London-based Phaidon to establish a New York office and editorial program following fourteen years at Architectural Record magazine, most recently as Senior Managing Editor. She has been a member of the jury of the Pritzker Architecture Prize since 2004 and also currently serves as board member of the Architectural League of New York and as a co-chair of the Architecture and Design Circle of the Museum of Modern Art.

Ann Temkin, the Marie-Josée and Henry Kravis Chief Curator of Painting and Sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art, where she organized the 2020 retrospective exhibition of the work of Donald Judd. Before joining MoMA, she was the Muriel and Philip Berman Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where she organized exhibitions on Barnett Newman (2002), Alice Neel (200001), Raymond Pettibon (199899), Constantin Brancusi (1995), and Josef Beuys (1993). Temkin has lectured and written extensively about modern and contemporary art. She wrote about the conservation of Donald Judd’s art for the Summer 2004 issue of Artforum.

Nicola von Velsen is currently Editor of Hatje Cantz Verlag, the distinguished German publisher of books on art and literature. Previously she was Editor of DuMont Literatur- und Kunstverlag.

The Writings of Donald Judd symposium was supported by generous contributions from Donna and Howard Stone, LLWW Foundation, the Marfa Chamber of Commerce, the Terra Foundation for American Art, and PaceWildenstein.