Crossroads: Kauffman, Judd and Morris review

3 out of 5 stars
3 out of 5 stars
(1user review)
Crossroads: Kauffman, Judd and Morris review
Craig Kauffman, 'Untitled;, 1967. © 2017 Estate of Craig Kauffman/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York Courtesy Sprüth Magers Photography ©: Cathy Carver, New York

Doing a lot with very little was American minimalist Craig Kauffman’s M.O. Here, Sprüth Magers has assembled a small handful of the artist’s (1932-2010) sculptures (and some by his buddies Donald Judd and Robert Morris) to show just how maximally great his minimalism was.

The first room is the most eye-popping. There’s a big orange Kauffman lozenge on the wall – a giant’s Strepsil of a sculpture – and a sheet of hanging coloured Perspex next to it, casting a multi-coloured shadow against the wall. In front of them, two works by Judd: a wall piece and a floor piece. It’s such a statement of a room, a micro-history of minimalism.

Kauffman and Judd were masters of stripping away, chiselling at the DNA of art, removing form, gesture, complexity and trying desperately to take the artist’s hands out of the work. Kauffman and Judd didn’t even make these works, industrial fabricators did. There’s shape here, and colour and light, but that’s it, and it’s stunning

But here’s the minimal rub: minimalism came about as a reaction to the overwrought art of the abstract expressionists. All around Kauffman and pals, the popular art of the time was about gesture and emotion, so they wanted to do the opposite. But that was then: does minimalism still matter now that it’s not kicking against anything? It’s hard to say yes.

But it’s also hard to not be totally in love with Kauffman’s art. That opening room is followed by another lozenge next door, an airy assemblage of Perspex strips upstairs and a sculpture that looks like a buttery cake filled with caramel, or the hood of an undrivable car.

There’s just not enough of it, and the works by Judd and Morris just distract from Kauffman. It’s half a show, really. But if you get over that, you’re rewarded with the chance to just stand there and absorb the light of Kauffman’s art, and get totally lost in it.

By: Eddy Frankel

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1 person listening

Minimalist and bold this exhibition has starts in a really interesting way. From the large strepsil on the wall to stacked blue squares there is a lot to take in. However for me this is where the exhibition kind of ended. I don't really remember what was on the downstairs floor shows it didn't have an effect on me. The upstairs was interesting but included these electronic projections that I found incredibly unconvincing and quite forced. All in all I'd say this exhibition is more catered to personal taste and sadly it didn't match mine.