I could’ve done that #1

Greg Neville: Donald Judd, untitled (1975), Art Gallery of NSW

There is a T-shirt going around that takes the old philistine exclamation about modern art “I could have done that” and answers it with “Yeah but you didn’t”. The sentiment might apply to these images I took recently in Sydney. Above, the orderly row of Minimalist boxes by Donald Judd, seen in the art museum. Below the coincidental find the next day of similar crates in an empty shop. Well, what is the difference?

Greg Neville: empty shop, Oxford St Paddington, NSW

Judd didn’t actually make his boxes, he commissioned them from fabricators under careful direction, so there’s no actual craftmanship from the artist. The materials are fairly common pine ply, so there’s no precious ‘aura’ there. The boxes sit mutely on the wall…

“… presented neutrally so as to refute any symbolic connotation. In some cases a number of boxes were attached to the wall in the form of a stack of alternating solids and voids of equal size. Many of the works embodied seriality, either as a simple mathematical progression or as a repetition of a standard unit. He used unpolished laminated wood and had his works made in a factory in order to obtain a perfect finish.”  – Moma.org