2022 Early Career Faculty Research and Creative Work Grant Winner

Mahyar Hadighi, Ph.D.

Between System and Improvisation: Donald Judd’s 100 Untitled Works in Mill Aluminum

NCPE Member Program: Texas Tech University

2022 Grant Winner Mahyar Hadighi smiling at the camera. He has his arms crossed and is wearing a suit with a bowtie.

Project Summary:

In this research activity, shape grammar is implemented as a computational design methodology to analyze the design language of Donald Judd’s “100 Untitled Works in Mill Aluminum”— permanently installed at the Chinati Foundation in Marfa, TX. The question we are seeking to answer is whether these 100 works belong to a system, and, if so, what that system is and what delimits the system to create 100 objects and no more. We are interested in finding the system, but also the moments of improvisation by Judd. We believe the work to be a profound intersection of absolute systematicity and free improvisation. Judd (1928-1994), an American artist, writer, and philosopher installed 100 aluminum objects—with the exact same outer dimensions but unique interior—over a four-year period from 1982 through 1986 in two former artillery sheds in the Chinati foundation. The proposed research will be conducted as a collaborative endeavor between faculty members and students at Texas Tech’s College of Architecture and Penn State’s Stuckeman School, in addition to the Chinati and Judd Foundations and William Helm photography studio. 

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