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Mel Bochner on Donald Judd

WHY DONALD JUDD’S WRITINGS? Why now? The recent republication of his Complete Writings 1959–1975 begs these questions. After all, there is a seriousness to Judd’s criticism that, in the money-fueled art world of today, can make it feel vaguely quaint. Divorced from the historical context of the mid-’60s, Judd’s involvement in the debates surrounding “specific objects” or “theatricality” might seem like the vestige of some long-forgotten family feud.

However, when one looks around, it becomes immediately evident that the legacy of that quarrelsome period threads its way through much of what is going on today, if only as an attempt to secure historical legitimacy. If something is simple or geometric, it is immediately termed “Minimalist.” If it has little or no physical presence, it is dubbed “Conceptual.” If it contains some reference to the counterculture, it is tagged “political.” Oddly

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