The process of specific space: Minimal art generally, Donald Judd’s art particularly

When Donald Judd described the new art as neither painting nor sculpture in his essay ‘Specific Objects’ published in 1965, few appear to have taken him at his word. At best, people understood this to be a new form of art that was both painting and sculpture — a hybrid. This hybrid however, is far from a specific object and further still from a specific space. Nevertheless, the hybrid acquired a spatial heritage from both painting and sculpture. Thought to have escaped modernism’s self-critical tendency that had each art medium jettison all it might share with another to retain a successively revived specificity, the hybrid gained not only a medium-plurality in opposition to this tendency, but became entrenched in the specificity of both art mediums, as well, in accordance with it. From painting, the hybrid inherited an expungement of space. From sculpture, the hybrid inherited a phenomenological framework generally mistaken to be space. Together, they did not spell space, far from it. Rather, they spelt the expectation of it, one little serviced by the definition of minimalism that ensued, a definition based not on space, but on materials and techniques that exclude space — with an adjunct added elsewhere that mentions it.

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