Donald Judd’s Untitled (Stack), Museum of Modern Art, New York City, New York

Donald, this is my favorite of your plexiglass stacks. Twelve shelves sitting hydroponic green, vertical, as if every front lawn in my neighborhood growing up together made a ladder leading to nothing. I see this green & I see nature, hear Fishing River trickling, smell my mom’s overgrown garden. You saw this green & saw industry, motorcycle lacquer, the sheen of bass boats, you saw production. You thought nature inert until you complicated it with a few boxes. You wrote that “the box is a neutral form, that it has no symbolic meaning.” But I look at your stack, green as grass as my last name as the confines of family, and all I see is symbol. All I see in every box is a symbol I stand in. People deny my personhood because I am just a symbol. I stand waiting in line for the bathroom and I am just a symbol. I stand out in public and I am green, I am a monster. I move from room to room, each identity a box, the more boxes the more I am a monster. What we mean when we say monster is “symbol.” What we mean when we say boxes is “confine the monster.” Donald, you wrote that “actual space is intrinsically more powerful and specific than paint on a flat surface.” But you never quite got there -- two-dimensional canvas or three-dimensional box, your use of space is still symbolic because it is boxes, boxes all the way down. I want to know: What is actual space when you are a monster? What if actual space was more than where I am stacked standing?