Donald Judd

Donald Judd, 1992.
Photo: Leo Holub © Judd Foundation

 

Donald Judd (1928–1994) is a landmark figure in twentieth-century American art who revolutionized our understanding of sculpture. Despite a lifelong antipathy to the term minimalism, he is considered a pioneer, theorist and key representative of the movement. His iconic objects were based on a few basic geometric forms. They were executed in a variety of materials and colors and evoke an astonishing range of atmospheres, spatial presences and aesthetic experiences. Judd lived in New York City and Marfa, Texas, where he founded the Chinati Foundation to preserve both his own work and that of other artists.

 

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The actual medium of Judd’s oeuvre is not sculpture, but space. His particular feel for the sensuousness of three-dimensional form is apparent even in his early paintings, which started as figurative interiors and urban scenes and developed from there into mostly monochrome, abstract paintings with a distinctly spatialized surface—achieved with the visible inclusion of sand and wood chips, for example, or with minimal sculptural inventions using such commonplace materials as wire mesh.

Mirroring his critical and theoretical engagement with contemporary art in the early 1960s (which resulted in his legendary 1964 essay “Specific Objects,” for example) the artist began to create three-dimensional objects that he considered neither painting nor sculpture. He had these objects fabricated to his precise specifications, employing such industrial materials as Plexiglas, plywood, aluminum, copper, brass, or steel plates. The works pursued a reduced geometric vocabulary that was repeated in variations of so-called “boxes,” “stacks,” “progressions,” “bullnoses” or “channel pieces.” Without a pedestal, they were placed directly on the floor or attached to the wall and their immaculate surfaces emphatically highlight the absence of a traditional “artistic” hand. Mostly monochrome or two-tone, their shades of grey, silver, bronze, gold and brown derive from the materials used. Other, sometimes contrasting hues, emerged through the use of high gloss motorcycle paint, Plexiglas tinting and aluminum anodization. Each of these objects had a unique presence and conjured specific spatial and atmospheric experiences.

Judd’s objects amounted to a radical break with the art historical sculptural tradition—a tradition that, despite its efforts at abstraction, still clung to the anthropomorphic ideal. They are the product of his conviction that every kind of “subject matter” or “content” springs from ideological generalizations. In their rigorous pursuit of non-descriptive parameters and refusal of any hierarchization into principal and secondary forms, they fathom the limits of the sculptural. Although the artist did not consider them “sculptures,” they initiated a monumental shift in the contemporary practice of sculpture.

Judd’s relocation to Marfa, Texas in the 1970s signaled a sustained expansion of his artistic practice. Though the fabrication of his iconic objects continued, his focus shifted to site-specific installations in public space—works for which he refined his formal language and also made use of materials including concrete. The 1980s saw an increased emphasis on architecture, and his practice broadened again to include the design of iconic furniture. The artist’s sculptural objects see a veritable explosion of color during this period, with surfaces that combine several bright hues.

Donald Judd’s work is far from his only contribution to contemporary art. His Marfa-based Chinati Foundation (1987) forged the path for an artist-led exhibition practice as a critical alternative to the museum institution. The extraordinary influence of this model continues to this day.

 

Works
Donald Judd
Donald Judd
Untitled (91-65), 1991

Donald Judd
Untitled (91-65), 1991
Brushed aluminium, plexi (red)
25 × 100 × 25 cm
9 7/8 x 39 3/8 x 9 7/8 inches

Donald Judd
Donald Judd
Untitled, 1991

Donald Judd
Untitled, 1991 (detail)

Donald Judd
Donald Judd
Untitled, 1991

Donald Judd
Untitled, 1991 (detail)

Donald Judd
Donald Judd
Meter Boxes, 1976

Donald Judd
Meter Boxes, 1976
Plywood
50 × 100 × 50 cm
19 3/4 x 39 3/8 x 19 3/4 inches

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Donald Judd
Donald Judd
Untitled, 1972

Donald Judd
Untitled, 1972
Copper, enamel and aluminium
91.6 × 155.5 × 178.2 cm
36 × 61 1/8 × 70 1/8 inches

Donald Judd
Donald Judd
Untitled (81-4) Bernstein, 1981

Donald Judd
Untitled (81-4) Bernstein, 1981
Copper and blue Plexiglas
50 × 100 × 50 cm
19 3/4 × 39 1/4 × 19 3/4 inches

Donald Judd
Donald Judd
Untitled, 1991

Donald Judd
Untitled, 1969 (detail)

Donald Judd
Donald Judd
Untitled, DSS 234, 1970

Donald Judd
Untitled, DSS 234, 1970
Amber plexiglass and stainless steel
50.8 × 121.9 × 86.4 cm
20 × 48 × 34 inches

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Donald Judd
Donald Judd
Untitled , 1974

Donald Judd
Untitled , 1974
Pencil on heavy deckle-edge textured white paper
57.8 × 78.4 cm
22 3/4 × 30 7/8 inches

Donald Judd
Donald Judd
Untitled (77/23 - Bernstein), 1977

Donald Judd
Untitled (77/23 – Bernstein), 1977
Stainless steel and blue plexiglass
15.24 × 68.58 × 60.96 cm
6 × 27 × 24 inches

Donald Judd
Donald Judd
Untitled, 1991

Donald Judd
Untitled, 1991
Silkscreen print on paper (printed in red, black and blue, and embossed lines)
60 × 80 cm
23 5/8 x 31 1/2 inches

Donald Judd
Donald Judd
Untitled, 1991

Donald Judd
Untitled, 1985 (detail)

Details
Donald Judd

Donald Judd
Untitled (91-65), 1991
Brushed aluminium, plexi (red)
25 × 100 × 25 cm
9 7/8 x 39 3/8 x 9 7/8 inches

Donald Judd
Untitled (91-65), 1991
Donald Judd

Donald Judd
Untitled, 1991 (detail)

Donald Judd
Untitled, 1991
Donald Judd

Donald Judd
Untitled, 1991 (detail)

Donald Judd
Untitled, 1991
Donald Judd

Donald Judd
Meter Boxes, 1976
Plywood
50 × 100 × 50 cm
19 3/4 x 39 3/8 x 19 3/4 inches

Donald Judd
Meter Boxes, 1976
Donald Judd
Donald Judd

Donald Judd
Meter Boxes, 1976

Donald Judd
Meter Boxes, 1976
Donald Judd
Donald Judd

Donald Judd
Meter Boxes, 1976

Donald Judd
Meter Boxes, 1976
Donald Judd

Donald Judd
Untitled, 1972
Copper, enamel and aluminium
91.6 × 155.5 × 178.2 cm
36 × 61 1/8 × 70 1/8 inches

Donald Judd
Untitled, 1972
Donald Judd

Donald Judd
Untitled (81-4) Bernstein, 1981
Copper and blue Plexiglas
50 × 100 × 50 cm
19 3/4 × 39 1/4 × 19 3/4 inches

Donald Judd
Untitled (81-4) Bernstein, 1981
Donald Judd

Donald Judd
Untitled, 1969 (detail)

Donald Judd
Untitled, 1991
Donald Judd

Donald Judd
Untitled, DSS 234, 1970
Amber plexiglass and stainless steel
50.8 × 121.9 × 86.4 cm
20 × 48 × 34 inches

Donald Judd
Untitled, DSS 234, 1970
Donald Judd
Donald Judd

Donald Judd
Untitled, DSS 234, 1970 (detail)

Donald Judd
Untitled, DSS 234, 1970
Donald Judd
Donald Judd

Donald Judd
Untitled, DSS 234, 1970 (detail)

Donald Judd
Untitled, DSS 234, 1970
Donald Judd

Donald Judd
Untitled , 1974
Pencil on heavy deckle-edge textured white paper
57.8 × 78.4 cm
22 3/4 × 30 7/8 inches

Donald Judd
Untitled , 1974
Donald Judd

Donald Judd
Untitled (77/23 – Bernstein), 1977
Stainless steel and blue plexiglass
15.24 × 68.58 × 60.96 cm
6 × 27 × 24 inches

Donald Judd
Untitled (77/23 - Bernstein), 1977
Donald Judd

Donald Judd
Untitled, 1991
Silkscreen print on paper (printed in red, black and blue, and embossed lines)
60 × 80 cm
23 5/8 x 31 1/2 inches

Donald Judd
Untitled, 1991
Donald Judd

Donald Judd
Untitled, 1985 (detail)

Donald Judd
Untitled, 1991
Details
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Current and Upcoming
Donald Judd
Donald Judd, Untitled, 1991. Installation view, Museum of Modern Art, New York. Bequest of Richard S. Zeisler and gift of Abby Aldrich Rockefeller (both by exchange) and gift of Kathy Fuld, Agnes Gund, Patricia Cisneros, Doris Fisher, Mimi Haas, Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis, and Emily Spiegel. © Judd Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York 2020. Photo: John Wronn

Donald Judd
Judd
Museum of Modern Art, New York
Online

The Museum of Modern Art’s exhibition Judd will be the first major US retrospective dedicated to Donald Judd (1928–1994) in over three decades. Presented solely at MoMA, the exhibition will explore the remarkable vision of an artist who revolutionized the history of sculpture, highlighting the full scope of Judd’s career through some 60 works in sculpture, painting, and drawing, from public and private collections in the US and abroad.

Link
Exhibitions at Sprüth Magers
Donald Judd

Crossroads: Kauffman, Judd and Morris
Donald Judd, Craig Kauffman, Robert Morris
January 19–March 31, 2018
London

Crossroads: Kauffman, Judd and Morris is Sprüth Magers’ second curated exhibition presenting Craig Kauffman’s work displayed alongside his influences and contemporaries. The show presents six works from Kauffman’s fertile period of 1966–71, when he addressed the issues of structure and form in painting, the use of industrial materials, painting’s relationship to the wall, and dematerialization. His work is contextualized by the inclusion of work by Donald Judd and Robert Morris, as well as supplemental materials from the Kauffman archives.

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Donald Judd
Working Papers: Donald Judd Drawings, 1963 – 93
curated by Peter Ballantine
March 15–April 12, 2014
Berlin

All 35 of the drawings on display have some connection to Judd's objects. In the earliest ones he is still working out (or rejecting) sculptural ideas he would make himself. Later drawings are Judd's part of the fabrication process, a script or score-like relationship to the work's subsequent 'performance' by others – simultaneously the original of the work and not comparable to the real thing at all. For context (and comparison), the exhibition includes 48 previously unavailable fabricator's shop drawings and related correspondence.

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Donald Judd
Donald Judd

Donald Judd
curated by Peter Ballantine
February 25–May 16, 2003
London

Donald Judd
1993
Cologne

Donald Judd
Press

Art review: Crossroads — Kauffman, Judd and Morris, at Sprüth Magers
The Times, article by Waldemar Januszczak, January 21, 2018

The persistent disbeliever: on Donald Judd’s writings
The Art Newspaper, article by Pac Pobric, March 24, 2017

Specific Objectives: The Complex Task of Preserving Donald Judd’s Legacy
 
ArtNews, article by Zoë Lescaze, September 12, 2016

On the Importance of Donald Judd
Artsy Online, January 17, 2015

Biography

Donald Judd (1928–1994) lived and worked in New York and Marfa, TX, until his death in New York. His works were exhibited throughout the world in major solo exhibitions at institutions such as Tate Modern (2004), Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2001), the Saint Louis Art Museum (1991), Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven (1987), the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa (1975), and at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (1988, 1968). A major forthcoming retrospective will be held at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 2020.

https://juddfoundation.org
https://chinati.org

Education
The Art Students League, New York (Art classes)
The College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA
Columbia University, New York (Philosophy)
B.S. in Philosophy, "cum laude", Columbia University, New York
Graduate studies in Art history, Columbia University, New York (classes of Rudolf Wittkower and Meyer Shapiro)
Masters of Fine Arts, Columbia University, New York
Teaching
1983–94 Lecturing at various universities across the United States, Europe and Asia on art and architecture
1976 Baldwin Professor, Oberlin College, Oberlin Ohio
1967 Teacher for Sculpture, Yale University, New Haven, CT
1966 Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Haven, CT
1962–64 Instructor at the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences, New York
Awards, Grants and Fellowships
1993 Sikkens Award, Sassenheim
1993 Preis der Stankowski Stiftung, Stuttgart
1992 Elected a member of the Littlefield Society, University of Texas, Austin
1992 Elected a member of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Stockholm
1991 Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation Award
1987 Brandeis University Medal for Sculpture, Waltham, MA
1987 Skowhegan Medal for Sculpture, Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Mayne
1976 Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts
1968 Guggenheim Fellowship, John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation
1966 Visiting artist at Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH
1965 Sweden Travel grant, Swedish Institute New York
Writings
1960 Art-critic for Art International
1960–65 Contributing editor for Arts Magazine
1959 Art-critic for ARTnews
Public Collections
Arsenal Contemporary, Montreal and New York
Centre Pompidou, Paris
Centre Pompidou, Paris, TX
Dia:Beacon Art Foundation, NY
Escher in Het Paleis, The Hague
Eskenazi Museum of Art, Indiana University, Bloomington
Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller Empire State Plaza Art Collection, Albany, NY
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.
Indianapolis Museum of Art, Newfields
Judd Foundation, New York and Marfa, TX
Kunstmuseum Basel
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zurich
Münster Skulptur Projekte, Muenster
Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Buenos Aires
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam
Museum für angewandte Kunst, Vienna
Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
Museum of Modern Art, Shiga
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh
Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase, New York
Palazzo Grassi / Pinault Collection, Venice
Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice
Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York
Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst, Ghent
Tate, London
Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art
The Israel Museum, Jerusalem
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
The Museum of Modern Art, New York
Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum
Walker Art Center, Minneapolis
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York