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Before the Boxes

Donald Judd proves there's life after bad painting

"Early Work" does an excellent job of showing Judd's evolution of ideas and materials, how he slowly staked out his territory and then diligently farmed it. The exhibition takes the work back to its idealistic, optimistic and fallible origins -- and away from the off-putting megalomania of Judd's Marfa installation of 100 stainless steel boxes. How a minimalist artist becomes a cult figure is an exhibition in itself. In the meantime, I propose revising that bumper sticker to "I image EARLY JUDD."

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