Donald Judd is one of the most significant artists in art history. Judd’s oeuvre has come to define what has been referred to as Minimal art—a label to which the artist strongly objected on the grounds of its generality.
With the intention of creating straightforward work that could assume a direct material and physical “presence” without recourse to grand philosophical statements, he eschewed the classical ideals of representational sculpture to create a rigorous visual vocabulary that sought clear and definite objects as its primary mode of articulation. Judd’s oeuvre has come to define what has been referred to as Minimal art—a label to which the artist strongly objected on the grounds of its generality.
In 1968, Judd purchased 101 Spring Street, a five story cast-iron building located at the corner of Spring Street and Mercer Street in New York City. Designed by Nicholas Whyte and constructed in 1870, it was the first building Judd owned and served as his New York residence and studio.
101 Spring Street is considered to be where Judd first developed the concept of permanent installation. It is spectacular. Centred on the belief that the placement of a work of art was as critical to its understanding as the work itself, Judd’s first applications of this idea were realised in his installation of works throughout 101 Spring Street and later in Marfa, Texas. Judd’s installations of artworks, furniture, and decorative objects strike a balance between respect for the historic nature of the landmark cast-iron building and his approach to architecture and design. Artworks in his personal collection include Lucas Samaras, Dan Flavin and Claes Oldenburg’s pieces.
The works on view at 101 Spring Street remain as installed by Judd. Throughout his writings, Judd identifies the installation of 101 Spring Street as the source of permanent installation as a practice. In his 1989 essay, ‘101 Spring Street,’ he wrote: “I spent a great deal of time placing the art and a great deal designing the renovation in accordance. Everything from the first was intended to be thoroughly considered and to be permanent.”