Friday, November 8, 2013

Judd at Mnuchin

The Mnuchin Gallery on East 78th Street has an exhibition of Donald Judd "Stacks" that runs until December 7.  There are 10 sculptures in all,  some better than others but any single one of them is a commanding presence. But the most interesting aspect of this exhibition is the space itself and the installation. At a time when the de rigueur  look of the commerical art gallery has been an industrial space with concrete floors and fluoresent lighting (the Chelsea chop shop makeover) there is something majestic about modernist art in a grand 19th Century townhouse.
In this show, each stack is given lots of space and the contrast between the warm, immaculate dark wood floors and Judd's shiny metal sculptures is invigorating. They know how to handle art at Mnuchin. They also know how to make even the announcement card special--the ones for this show were the thickest  exhibition cards you will ever see. They probably cost a dollar each to print.  Equally noteworthy is the catalogue which features essays from a few past associates of Judd along with excellent archival photos of the stacks. 
With all of this precision and care it was funny to see the 80 year-old gallery owner Robert Mnuchin conducting business from the sidewalk handing his staff notes through the ground floor window into the gallery offices.