I was wrong. When I came back from Marfa, I was convinced
that it didn’t really matter what happened to Donald Judd’s gallery works, because
his real masterpieces are permanently installed at Marfa. But now I’ve seen
at Christie’s, and it’s amazing.
Christie’s has pulled out all the stops and created a Judd exhibition of which
any museum in the world would be proud. Judd’s gallery work has never looked
as impressive, and I have to say that Christie’s official estimates are ridiculously
The plywood boxes, especially, shine in the temporary space at Rockefeller
Center: for the first time I felt I understood what Judd was getting at. The
curators of Dia:Beacon should certainly come here to take a look at how Judd
should be exhibited.
This exhibition is so good, in fact, that Tyler
is right: these works absolutely belongs in a museum, ideally together. Some
artists are never as great as they look in retrospective: their work is best
when seen in conjunction with many other pieces by the same artist. Warhol is
a prime example. Other artists, by contrast, seem monotonous in retrospective,
and the whole oeuvre is dragged down by repetition. I must admit I felt that
way at MoMA’s Pollock show. Judd, it turns out, is like Warhol, not Pollock:
if you see these works together, you’ll realise what a great artist he really
Go see this exhibition: it’s the show of the year, and it’s free. And, distressingly,
these works will never be seen together again. Really, this is a once-in-a-lifetime
opportunity. Don’t let it pass you by.