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 Abstract Art Online Legacy ~ Exhibition Review from March 2005

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 New York Views March 15th

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Joseph Albers & Donald Judd at the Brooke Alexander Gallery, 59 Wooster to May 21st

A prerequisite for this show is buying into the premise that art can be reduced to pure color and structure as advanced by both artists.  No mark-making or at least very little takes place here. Nor is there any emotion expressed besides what the color itself offers.  Albers and Judd were true conceptualists; far more so then the so-called movement of the 70s ever produced.  By removing nearly all the trace elements of emotion in favor of the purity of the visual components they effectively combined ĎConceptí with ĎArtí into objects that donít require reams of written material for explanation as was otherwise common for the Conceptualists. This type of work, given its neat precision, is what visually- inclined scientists and mathematicians could easily love.  Those looking for a painterly sensibility need look elsewhere.

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Donald Judd at the Brooke Alexander Gallery

This exhibition is especially interesting for combining these two artists.  As described above there are obvious and natural similarities between their work. What remains then is to flesh out the differences. To begin with, Judd was more the purist for completely shunning illusion and anything painterly in his work.  You see the evidence of it here in his precisely constructed sculptures and orderly serialized block prints.  Whether he truly distilled art to its most

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Joseph Albers and Donald Judd at the Brooke
Alexander Gallery

fundamental elements or instead was simply creating pure design remains an open question. But the fact that he was one of the supreme theorists remains.

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Joseph Albers at the Brooke Alexander Gallery

Albers, though also a theorist investigating the elements of painting, was more open to the possibilities of painterly texture.  Even though his paintings are radically reductive there is nevertheless a human element to it that is absent in Juddís industrially exact constructions.  Albers

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