From the Library: Donald Judd Spaces

We look beyond the iconic furnishings and into the distinct world of an elusive hero.


When we’re in need of inspiration, our library is the first place we turn to; it exists in the physical and symbolic center of our office. In an effort to immortalize the countless resources on its shelves, we feature a pertinent title from our library in each issue of the Post.

To provide context for the images in this month’s book, “Donald Judd Spaces”, we have chosen to share an excerpt of his writing. In practice this text served as the mission statement for his foundation and in hindsight it’s a manifesto for his lifestyle and legacy. There exists a direct line between the integrity of his work and his disciplined adherence to the attitude described below. As Judd assumed the various roles of philosophy student, art critic, painter, sculptor and designer, he was always a deep, deep thinker with a strong perspective about the world.

“The installation of my work and of others’ is contemporary with its creation. The work is not disembodied spatially, socially, temporally, as in most museums. The space surrounding my work is crucial to it: As much thought has gone into the installation as into a piece itself… The interrelation of the architecture of 101 Spring Street, its own and what I’ve invented with the pieces installed there, has led to many of my newer, larger pieces, ones involving whole spaces. Several main ideas have come from thinking about the space and situation of that building… Very little is left in any period with the original intentions evident. I’m trying to do this. American painters of the 1940s and 1950s are scattered. And much damaged… The United States Government and the rest of society pride themselves on their culture while merely using art to symbolize culture and steadily and concisely destroying real art.”

Excerpt from “Judd Foundation” by Donald Judd, 1977

In the design world, Donald Judd’s name precedes him. ‘Judd’ as an idea has become synonymous with the strict practice of minimalism, the sort that appears deceptively simple and yet is often butchered. While widespread access to his ingenuity has rightly brought his work into the public discourse, an unfortunate reality is that the nuances of context are lost. Of course, Judd foreshadowed just as much back in the seventies when the targets of his criticism ended with museums, naively unaware of what level of dissociation digitization could spawn.

All of this said, the reality for us now is that we’re ever more digital. So, we felt it best to honor this fervently analogue artist in the most analogue way possible. Sharing the contents of this book serves that purpose and more, as it features his work photographed as he would have wanted them to be experienced: within the context of his studios in New York, homes there and in Texas, and sanctuaries at large. Seeing his work this way offers an unabridged documentation of his life as it unfolded beneath an unwavering dedication to his built environment. None of what Judd made was made for the sake of it and nor was placement ever arbitrary. His work (and by work we mean truly everything he lived with, was surrounded by, consumed, and produced) was always positioned just so. The images in this book shed light on the ingeniousness of Judd not just as a furniture designer and curator but for his rarely documented life amongst his creations.

101 Spring Street. Facade from Mercer Street. Photo ca. 1970.
Donald Judd with Annemarie Verna, Ellie Meyer, and Gianfranco Verna. Photo 1984.
Donald Judd with the Whitney Independent Study Group. Photo 1974.
Temporary installation; untitled 1974 and untitled 1984. Photo ca. 1984.
Permanent installation, untitled, 1969. Photo 1984.
Donald Judd. Photo 1971.
Donald Judd. Photo 1976.
View of Kitchen. Photo 2018.
View of Kitchen. Photo 2018.
Third Floor. Permanent installation. Photo 1975.
Donald Judd. Photo 1973.
Julie Finch Judd with Flavin and Rainer Judd. Photo 1970.
Julie Finch Judd with Flavin and Rainer Judd. Photo 1970.
The Block. Donald Judd in courtyard. Photo 1975.
South facade of west building from US Highway 90. Photo 1973.
South facade of east building from US Highway 90. Photo 1973.
Adobe bricks and west building. Photo 1973.
Donald Judd with family dog Rifle. Photo 1984.
View of ground floor. Photo ca. 1980.
Courtyard with pool. Photo 2016.
View of dining room from kitchen. Photo 2019.
View of kitchen. Photo 2019.
Pre-renovation of south room. Photo 1974.
Donald Judd in south room. Photo 1975.
View of studio, now second library. Photo 1977.
View of reading room in second library. Photo 1985.
Donald Judd in studio. Photo 1982.
Art Studio. Facade from West Oak Street.
Studio view. Photo 2013.
Gatehouse. Facade from West Oak Street. Photo 2013.
Permanent installation, left to right: untitled, 1956; untitled, 1956. Photo 2018.
Donald Judd with untitled, 1961. Photo 1993.
View of interior with tea trolley by Alvar Aalto and chair by Gerrit Rietveld. Photo 2019.
View of interior with table and chairs by Mies van der Rohe; lamp by Gerrit Rietveld. Photo 2018.
Architecture Office. Facade from North Highland Avenue.
Donald Judd. Photo 1993.
Print Building. Facade from South Highland Avenue.
Print Studio view, four from a set of ten woodcuts, untitled, 1988; two drawings, 1993; furniture by Alvar Aalto. Photo 1995.
Print Studio view, left to right: one from a set of ten woodcuts, untitled, 1988; two drawings, 1993; standing desk by Donald Judd. Photo 1995.
Ranch Office. Facade from North Highland Avenue.
Permanent installation, left to right: untitled, 1992; untitled, 1992; untitled1993. Photo 2013.
Donald Judd, drawing for Ayala de Chinati brand, 1986.
Donald Judd. Photo 1977.
Donald Judd with Flavin Judd and Jamie Dearing. Photo 1975.
Donald Judd with Flavin Judd, Rainer Judd, and Lauretta Vinciarelli. Photo 1976.
Casa Morales. Exterior from the east. Photo 2013.
Tank and windmill. Photo 1977.
View from kitchen. Photo 2013.
Casa Perez. Exterior from the southeast. Photo 2018.
View of kitchen. Photo 2013.
View of interior with Library Bed by Donald Judd. Photo 2018.
Construction of bath and tiendita. Photo 1983.
View of bath. Photo 2016.
Interior of bath. Photo 2018.
Las Casas. View of garden walls. Photo circa 1990.
Donald Judd. Photo circa 1990.
Donald Judd. Photo 1991.
Donald Judd. Photo 1992.
Donald Judd. Photo circa 1990.
View from Ayala de Chinati. Photo 1976.