Qatar Museums (QM) has opened the first in-depth presentation worldwide in nearly two decades of the work of the closely linked artists Dan Flavin (1933–1996) and Donald Judd (1928–1994).
The exhibition is also the first major presentation of Flavin and Judd’s works in the Mena (Middle East and North Africa) region.
Flavin and Judd were considered two of the founders of minimalism, the widely influential art movement that broke free from traditional notions of painting and sculpture to focus on experiencing real space and materials.
Flavin and Judd met in 1962 in New York, and quickly became central figures among a cohort of artists including Lee Bontecou, John Chamberlain, Yayoi Kusama, Sol Lewitt, Claes Oldenburg, and Frank Stella, who were charting the new terrain between painting and sculpture.
“Dan Flavin Donald Judd: Doha” is organised by the QM in co-operation with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and is curated by LACMA chief executive Michael Govan, director Wallis Annenberg, and Contemporary Art associate curator Jennifer King.
Featuring 37 works by Flavin and 25 works by Judd, the exhibition focuses on the artists’ shared engagement with material, colour, and form.
Spanning the 1960s through the 1990s, the exhibition will highlight works from the collection of the QM, as well as important loans from other museums, private collections, the Dan Flavin Estate, and the Judd Foundation.
The exhibition is organised with works by both the artists installed in the three central galleries, demonstrating their intersecting concerns and practices.
The galleries ﬂanking this central section are dedicated separately to each artist.
Highlights of “Dan Flavin Donald Judd: Doha” include:
m Flavin’s early lightwork The Diagonal of May 25, 1963 (to Constantin Brancusi), 1963, related to the Brancusi sculpture Endless Column.
m Works from Flavin’s “monument” for V Tatlin series, using cool white ﬂuorescent lights of different lengths.
m A number of the works that were shown in the landmark exhibition “Dan Favin: Fluorescent Light” in 1964 at New York’s Green Gallery.
m A large-scale installation by Flavin, Alternating pink and ‘gold’, 1976.
m A landmark Judd work, untitled, 1964, that marks the artist’s transition between painting and sculpture.
m A group of metal progression works intended to be shown in buildings Judd designed, but never completed, in Marfa, Texas at the Chinati Foundation, which have never been exhibited as a group outside Marfa.
m Judd’s untitled, 1986, the artist’s largest wall work in plywood and plexiglass comprised of thirty units.
The exhibition is a legacy project of the 2021 Year of Culture between Qatar and the US, which also featured exhibitions of the works of Jeff Koons and Virgil Abloh in Doha and an exhibition of extraordinary textiles and portraits on loan from the Museum of Islamic Art at Washington, DC’s Smithsonian National Museum of Asian Art.
A robust public programme will accompany “Dan Flavin Donald Judd: Doha” and include in-person and digital panel conversations and lectures, special tours, and more.
The QM and LACMA share a history of collaboration and professional exchanges going back to 2012 with the presentation of the LACMA’s exhibition, “Gifts of the Sultan: The Arts of Giving at the Islamic Courts” at the Museum of Islamic Art.
In 2018, the partnership was later expanded through a joint collaboration with the Yuz Museum in Shanghai.
The opening of “Dan Flavin Donald Judd: Doha” is supported by Audi.
The exhibition will run until February 2024.
A large-scale installation by Flavin, Alternating pink and ‘gold’, 1976.
Right: Judd’s untitled, 1986, the artist’s largest wall work in plywood and plexiglass comprised of thirty units.