. . .with thanks to Matilda (and her card supply)
Our first opening of 2012 was Working Papers: Donald Judd’s Drawings, 1963-93, which took place at Sprueth Magers last Thursday January the 12th. The opening had all the hallmarks of a typical central London, ‘high-end’ art gallery event. The ‘Hoypoloi’ were out in force, plenty of slightly above average priced white wine was being consumed and lots of attractive people (and some not so attractive, but with expensive shoes on) were all crammed into this tight white space, discussing and conversing about all things “culture”.
However in this rather typically jovial scene it was noticeable just what little attention was being paid to the actual work. The drawings themselves, it must be said, were simply not very interesting. I understand the minimal nature of Judd’s artwork and can appreciate some of his sculptures; work which he is known and respected for. Nether the less, the minimal aesthetic that Judd (he died in 1994) was so renowned for just does not make for very inspiring drawings. They are principally extracts from Judd’s workbooks, and it would have been interesting to know if the artist himself had still be around today whether he would have wanted them to be seen in this way. And in doing so have their importance elevated to this extent, which of course we can now only speculate about.
The main point of interest for me was the central glass display case. In this you can examine the letters and other documents linked to Judd’s career. Most of these are from his 60’s heyday and are mainly notes and letters to and from dealers, gallery owners and other artists. Leo Castelli’s name is the most intriguing entry (which really isn’t saying much), and has the greatest significance to the overall history of the artist. The ‘museum’ type artefacts and their presentation are in someway mirrored in the works themselves. Unfortunately, apart for their importance to artist’s career, I cannot see any other reason why these drawings should have an entire show dedicated to them, and are in a gallery of this kind. They seem far more appropriate in support of Judd’s sculptures which were his intended ‘works’ after all, or merely as archival records, to be displayed in a museum.
Although we were fairly disappointed at our first gallery visit of the year we did however find a little solace later in the evening. On the way home we past Selfridges and were struck by a few of their new window displays. Showing that you can often find art when you least expect it, but it ain’t always there when you do anticipate finding it.
In all honesty though, to be fair to Judd’s drawings I personally always prefer Kitsch and Kafka to technical drawing, and taking Judd’s sculptures into consideration, perhaps I should have known what to expect from his ‘Working Papers’.
…as did Adam Towner & Katy Rosewarne’s Tinker and Tailor install. We also enjoyed Oliver Ruuger’s elegant Chapter VIII. These works are all part of Selfridges Bright Young Things window displays, worth a look if you are passing.
Still from 21 G, 2010 by Sun Xun
Maria Miesenberger, Untitled (Söndag/Sonntag) from the series Sverige/ScHweden 1992/2009
Roy Friberg, Untitled 2011