The Guardian has a piece this week on the mysterious orb held by Christ in the Leonardo da Vinci painting currently on view at Christie’s. “Solid glass or crystal, whether shaped like an orb or a lens, produces magnified, inverted, and reversed images,” historian Walter Isaacson says of the image. “Instead, Leonardo painted the orb as if it were a hollow glass bubble that does not refract or distort the light passing through it.”
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Paula Cooper Gallery, New York
New York, NY and Marfa, TX
Columbia University BA, New York
Judd is well- known American sculptor. Using industrial materials and processes that make invisible all traces of the artist’s hand, Judd is a leading figure of minimalism. Minimalists were, in part, reacting to the prevalent movement of abstract expressionism happening post World War II. Jackson Pollock and his freedom-signifying heroic male drips that reduced painting to a purely optical experience provoked a counter movement in minimalism that invoked strategies of the historical avant garde, such as the ready-made and industrial, non-art materials. Drawn to humble materials with no pretension, Judd’s sculptures were made of several, identical, completely smooth cubes or bricks made from metal, concrete or plexiglass. They are arranged in space, not touching, in a way that prevents any compositional hierarchy from developing. He called them freestanding “specific objects”. These repetitive forms posits the viewer and the art object and the space around it as all interacting forces that form an art experience. His work also made each viewer the same, anyone with eyes could potentially share the same experience with his work. His first solo show was in 1957 in New York at the Panoras gallery. The Whitney Museum of American Art held a retrospective of his life’s work in 1968 which included early paintings alongside his sculptures. The same year, he purchased a 5-story building in New York to display his works in a more permanent setting. His building further led him to distance himself from temporary, curator-designed public exhibitions which he felt distanced the artist from his or her work. In the 1970s, the scale of his work grew even larger and he created several room-sized installations. Aided by the Dia Art Foundation, he purchased 340 acres of land in 1979 in Marfa, Texas which included an abandoned Army fort. Starting in 1986, this site would be home to the Chinati Foundation, a non-profit art foundation that now houses the art of Judd and several of his contemporaries. He died of lymphoma in 1994. In 2006, the Judd Foundation, who has assumed responsibility of maintaining his large properties and the corresponding installations, auctioned 35 of his sculptures at Christie’s in New York. The auction raised $25 million which will be used toward sustain the installations located in Marfa, Texas and New York City’s 101 Spring St.