Department of Art and Art History Calendar

Art History Lecture Series presents "Hörður Ágústsson, Donald Judd and vernacular architecture" by Gavin Morrison

blue prints of icelandic houses
Hörður Ágústsson, Donald Judd and vernacular architecture

This lecture concerns Donald Judd's intention to organize an exhibition of the drawings of Hörður Ágústsson of Icelandic vernacular architecture and will also provide an opportunity to reflect on Judd's own interest in vernacular buildings and his relationship to Iceland. Donald Judd was a regular visitor to Iceland from the 1970s until shortly before his death. The motivation for his initial visit was to experience the landscape of the Icelandic sagas. During his final visit in 1992 he met the artist and architectural historian, Hörður Ágústsson (1922-2005). Hörður had studied painting in Paris and returned to Iceland in 1949 where his work developed in a more determinedly abstract manner, focused upon the relationship between form and colour. In the 1960s, through funding by the Icelandic Science Foundation, he undertook tours of Iceland to record and draw the built culture of the island. During the latter half of the 1970s he ceased to work as a visual artist and dedicated himself to collating his research for publication which was released in two volumes: Íslensk byggingararfleifð I. Arip af húsagerðarsðgu 1750 – 1940 (1998) and Íslensk byggingararfleifð II. Varðveisluannàll 1863-1990 (2000). Following Judd and Hörður's meeting in 1992, Judd proposed to curate an exhibition of the architectural studies with the intention that it would be presented at the Smithsonian, however Judd died before this could be realised. This lecture presents research conducted in Iceland and Marfa, Texas with a view to understand the intentions and impulses of Judd's interests in Hörður's work and Judd's own uses of vernacular forms.

Gavin Morrison is a writer and curator who lives near Marseille in the south of France. He is currently the artistic director of Skaftfell, an arts centre established by the late Swiss artist Dieter Roth in Seyðisförður, a fishing town on the east coast of Iceland. Separately, he is also working on a series of exhibitions concerning the work of the architect Berthold Lubetkin and its relationship to the region of his birth, Tbilisi, Georgia. Morrison is presently working on two books: The Malcontents which concerns entwined narratives between Scotland and Corsica in 1760s and Last Words an essay on writing, type-design, and mourning. He was the editor for the art and philosophy anthology Ignorance: between knowing and not knowing (Stockholm: Axl Books, 2015).