10/08/2021 - 01/09/2022

Upper Gallery and Mezzanine

Donald Judd has remained one of the most highly regarded American artists who came to Marfa, Texas to continue to make art and to show art by other artists, as they would prefer it to be seen. The spectator of the “plywood box” as the Untitled sculpture on the gallery floor is often referred to, was done for the Art Museum of South Texas in 1974 by the artist.

As William Agee, the then director of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston stated:

 “Here one encounters a plywood frame with the top raised several inches above the sides by a smaller and square internal plywood column. On first approaching the piece, the top seems to levitate, and again it is only after direct confrontation that the method of construction is fully revealed; even then the interior volume is only partially exposed. In each of these (variations) of boxes, Judd attained a distinctively new experience in the perception of space, area, and surface that represents another step in his continuing stylistic evolution of the last seventeen years.” -W. Agee, 1977 catalogue Donald Judd

Two other artists from the collection on view in the adjacent space of the Mezzanine are Madeline O’Connor ( 1931-2002) who was born in Refugio, Texas, and lived her life in Victoria, Texas; and Dennis Kemmerer, a local artist who taught art for C.C.I.S.D. in Chula Vista Academy of Fine Arts for decades. Both are spartan in their art practice. O’Connor came to live in Victoria, Texas as a child,  where her elementary building one day became her studio, which still sits today as if it were a time capsule. Her art and approach to art-making were thoughtfully considered and researched and evolved into a careful approach in color, form, and surface that was very personal and a direct correlation with her observation of the natural grace in the world and of her own being.

Dennis Kemmerer also used materials that he defined and refined not to tell a story, but to be impactful in their precision, their materiality, and their physical stance as objects and ideas.

The artists themselves valued factual circumstances materials choice, honesty to the choice, and use of the paper, paint, wood, construction, all were part of their consideration. Many of these works were given to the museum by donors familiar with the artist, while the artist was here to discuss them. In some cases, former directors or the artist themself offered the gift of their art.  We are all the beneficiaries of the considerations of form and space in two and three dimensions.


Deborah Fullerton, AMST Curator of Exhibitions