Judd blue chair

Two Lost Donald Judd Interviews, Part II: On Color and Defining ‘Modernism’

Earlier this summer, when we happened to come across not one but two vibrant, late-'80s interviews with Donald Judd in the same week, we decided it was fate telling us to designate today Judd day here on the site, where we'd excerpt text from both. The second interview we're posting today comes from New York New Art, a 1989 tome that Monica unearthed at an antique mall in Nashville. The interview, with John Griffiths, took place at a Judd exhibition where the artist was showing new pieces in metal and perspex. It covers everything from why Judd began using color to whether the term "Modernism" actually means anything. Read on for more after the jump!
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Wintercheck_SelfPortrait1

Wintercheck Factory’s Collection No. 300

When we asked Brooklyn's Wintercheck Factory — who debuted their latest collection with us at Sight Unseen OFFSITE last month — to shoot those new pieces in the most appropriate scenario they could imagine for our Self Portrait column, their choice of venues ended up being even more fitting than they themselves realized. A 1910 bank building in Bed-Stuy is about to become the duo's new studio, and clearly it makes for a stunning backdrop, but having been ripped up, painted, retiled, left to rot, bricked up, and, now, appropriated as a creative space, it can also be read as a symbol of Wintercheck Factory's own gradual reinvention.
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What inspired your Pink/Frequency series? “That title came in a dream. After I woke up I looked it up, and it turns out to be a certain frequency of sound. I was looking at the internet a lot at that time, tumblr and image-based sites mostly. I work intuitively and have learned through experience that form follows feeling. My work from this series is how I came to know that experientially. I was feeling things around the object/image relationship, and I was also interested in art/objects that related to the everyday experience of being. I felt the real art was the art of living.”

Jason Rens, Furniture Designer

Jason Rens’s future as a designer pretty much began — though unbeknownst to him at the time — the day his grandpa bought him a Taliesin West t-shirt. Rens was still a kid growing up in Arizona, and his grandpa, Al Farnsworth, was an architect who liked to make pilgrimages to Frank Lloyd Wright’s famed winter home each time he came to visit. When Rens grew up and graduated high school, he worked at a clothing company slash record label for awhile, but then a random job at a design/build company activated some long-dormant impulse buried inside him: I want to be an architect, too. He made it halfway through architecture school in Boulder before shifting gears and finishing his degree in crafts in Portland, where he’s now known for both his interiors and, increasingly, his Rason Jens line of sculptural objects.
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What inspired your Primarily / Primary series (pictured)? “The full name is actually Primarily / Primary (after Carol Bove, Scott Burton and Sol Le Witt), three artists we were obsessing about during that time that seem present in this project in a very literal way. The Seattle textile artist Ashley Helvey helped us with amazing wool felts for the chairs, and her work definitely inspired us, too.”

ROLU, Designers

Before Matt Olson and Mike Brady of the Minneapolis studio ROLU began making boxy plywood furniture in 2010 — earning them serious contemporary design cred and a reputation for channeling Donald Judd — they spent seven years designing landscapes, minimalist geometric compositions in steel, wood, concrete, and grass. It was those projects, says Olson, that have helped define the group’s work since, from their love for earthy materials to their awareness of design’s larger experiential qualities. “A landscape is a dynamic thing,” Olson explains. “It has smells, it grows and dies and changes. That taught me to pay attention to what’s really happening with an object; the chair as a visual and functional thing is only the start.” In ROLU’s case, chairs can also interact with users, reference sculptures and performance art and drawings, or become performances themselves, often by way of little more than a few planes of OSB.
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