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You've probably seen the artwork. Clean, stainless steel boxes, stacked one atop the other, lined across the floor or cantilevered from the museum wall. The first time you saw them you asked what they meant. The second time you asked why? The third time you probably just smiled and accepted it.
That's a common reaction to the work of American artist Donald Judd (1928-1994).
Not everyone gets him. Not everyone loves him. Yet his contribution to international Minimalism is second to none.
Judd aspired to create work devoid of compositional hirearchy. More simply put, he created art in which no one single thing catches your eye. It's strikingly egalitarian, and while his artwork has clearly influenced modern art, the principles of his work can also be felt in buildings, desk lamps and furniture designs. Notice the simply stacked squares of this lamp:
Amarillo Silver Accent Table Lamp
It is this beautiful, understated quality of line that defines Judd's work, and it creeps up time and again, whether in his ink-on-paper prints or his site specific installations.
What Judd's art lacks in color or pizzazz is made up for in elegant simplicity. It's this conceptual basis that informs much of today's most celebrated products, from the iPhone to modern furniture designs like these glass nesting tables.
Silhouette Set of 3 Glass and Chrome Nesting Accent Tables
And this is the true beauty of Minimalism - the ability for an object or image to convey more by saying less. What holds true for artwork also holds true for a piece of modern furniture or contemporary architecture.
Donald Judd didn't just master this concept as an artist. He helped define it through his life's work.
Images: The Gorgeous Daily, June Joon Jaxx, Printed Editions, Waymarking
Donald Judd: Minimalism's Square Roots
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