“Not so much a line as a star” Donald Judd in The Low Countries (1966-71)

Speaker: Wouter Davidts (University of Ghent)

Photograph of a group go people looking at a sculpture in an art gallery i Installation view of ‘Don Judd’, Municipal Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, 1970. Photograph Martien. F.J. Coppens; Archives Municipal Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven.

Donald Judd’s rising reputation and fame in the United States in the second half of the 1960s, epitomized by his ground-breaking show at the Green Gallery in New York in 1963-64 and the widely acclaimed solo shows at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1968 and the Pasadena Art Museum in Pasadena California in 1971, have shaped a picture of the artist’s early career as a predominantly American affair. Within the historical and critical reception of Judd rarely any attention has been paid to the initially modest but then significant exposure the artist benefited in Europe in the second half of the 1960s. Little is known about the five years in between the artist’s first inclusion in a group show in Stockholm in 1965-66 – which in fact ‘premiered’ the very first wall stack by artist (Untitled, 1965; DSS 65) – up until his first solo show in Europe at the Municipal Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven in 1970.

Mapping out the earliest instances of Judd’s exposure in the Europe in the second half of the 1960s, this talk hopes to reveal that in the very same era that Judd establishes his formal and conceptual language in the United States, his work meets with substantial institutional support as well as nuanced critical reception at the other side of the Atlantic.

Wouter Davidts lives and works in Antwerp. He teaches at the Department of Architecture & Urban Planning and the Department of Art, Music and Theatre Studies of Ghent University (UGent). In 2015 he was awarded the Eduardo Chillida Professorship at the Art History Institute of the Goethe University in Frankfurt, and In 2016 he was a Visiting Fellow at ATCH (Architecture Theory Criticism History) research centre of the School of Architecture, University of Queensland, Brisbane.

He has published widely on the museum, contemporary art and architecture and is author of two volumes on museum architecture, Bouwen voor de kunst? (A&S/books, 2006) and Triple Bond (Valiz, 2017). He is editor of such volumes as The Fall of the Studio (2009) and Luc Deleu – T.O.P. office: Orban Space (2012; with Stefaan Vervoort and Guy Châtel). He was the curator of The Corner Show (2015, Extra City Antwerp; with Mihnea Mircan and Philip Metten).

In his current research he focuses on the reception of American Art in the Low Countries.

Organised by Professor David Peters Corbett (The Courtauld)