Donald Judd Just Made Whatever He Wanted

by Jill McDonough

Maybe concentric circles on a U. S. map, zeroing in on population
zero, figuring Marfa’s close enough. Then he starts buying houses, land,
a grocery store, hiring people to do some crazy shit: raise this wall eighteen
inches, put these twelve-foot shelves in here, move this door over a hair
of a smidge so things line up just right. He can’t step over to the left? I ask.
I’m only teasing; no one bothers me much over why I want to write in lines,
so who am I to fuss over 100 identical boxes, each totally different
inside? I love Judd because he’s fucking crazy, out here in the desert,
making whatever he wants: if I had the room for twelve foot long tables
I’d have them. Twelve foot high shelves arranged however I want? You bet.
We walk through his house, his places and we can imagine we have this
much space: American. Also we love him because he said his early paintings
are sophomoric and half-baked abstractions, which, who among us, right?
Eugene is worried about damning the early paintings with faint praise but
Judd damned them pretty hard himself. I imagine all the visitors to all the art
who say He didn’t even make this or My kid could do this or my favorite,
Must be nice: they’re jealous! Who doesn’t imagine another life, this bigger
one, try to imagine what you could make up if you could imagine this hard.

Published on February 17, 2022