Local History: Castellani, Judd, Stella

Enrico Castellani, Frank Stella

Dominique Lévy, New York

October 30, 2014 - January 17, 2015

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Local History: Castellani, Judd, Stella (2014–15) took place concurrently in London and New York at Dominique Lévy. The exhibition captured a fleeting but profound moment of creative intersection in the careers of three exalted postwar artists—bringing together rarely seen early works of the 1950s through early 1970s by Enrico Castellani, Donald Judd, and Frank Stella. These works were juxtaposed with important later examples that reveal each artist’s distinct evolution and the varying degrees of reverberation from their brief aesthetic collision in the 1960s. Local History was organized by noted curator and art historian Linda Norden, with Peter Ballantine, who is regarded as a leading expert in the work of Donald Judd and was one of the artist’s long-time fabricators.

Local History took its title from a passage in an essay Donald Judd penned in 1964, examining some of the best art being shown in New York City. Ostensibly an exhibition review, Judd’s text, in fact, was a manifesto calling for a new kind of art freed from the concerns of expressionism and medium-specificity, ideas he elaborated more fully upon in “Specific Objects,” which was published soon after. Enrico Castellani, whom Judd regarded as father of the style that came to be known as Minimalism, and Frank Stella were both championed in these texts, and their experiments exerted strong influence on Judd’s own. Local History revisited the cornerstone objects of this transformative period, testing Judd’s hypotheses in physical form. Exhibition highlights included Superficie nera (1959), Superficie rigata bianca e blu (1963), and Superficie angolare rossa (1961) by Enrico Castellani. Donald Judd was represented with works spanning three decades, including Untitled (DSS 41) (1963), an early, formative floor work. Among the masterworks by Frank Stella on view were 5 Eldridge Street (Blue Horizon) (1958), and Untitled (1959)—two paintings that reveal a young artist in rapid progression.