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Allusion and Illusion in Donald Judd

FOR SOME TIME DONALD JUDD has been a major spokesman for works of art which seek, as their highest attainment, total identity as objects. Last year in praise of a fellow-sculptor’s work, Judd wrote: “Rather than inducing idealization and generalization and being allusive, it excludes. The work asserts its own existence, form and power. It becomes an object in its own right.” Thus object-art would seem to proscribe both allusion and illusion: any reference to experiences or ideas beyond the work’s brute physical presence is excluded, as is my manipulation (through the prescribed observation of that presence) of apparent as opposed to literal space. With this presumptive reduction of art from the realm of illusion—and through illusionism, of meaning—to the sphere of transparently real objects, the art with which Judd is associated is characterized as intentionally blank and empty: “Obviously

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