Biography of Donald Judd
Equally influential as a writer and artist, Donald Judd paved the way for a new order in American art and was a leading exponent of the Minimalism movement. Born in 1928 in Missouri, Judd studied philosophy and art at university before starting out as a painter. By the 60s he began concentrating more on sculpture and started to experiment with an industrial approach to his working practice—a radical step at the time. Judd initial sculptures were singular boxlike forms made from plywood, metal, and concrete. As his explorations into 3D space became more focused, he learnt to pare down a work’s individual components so that the demands of the whole came to the fore.
Though he disliked the term Minimalism, Donald Judd eschewed the beliefs of Abstract Expressionism in favor of work that avoided all evidence of the artist’s hand. Material and space were his main concerns. Color was used to delineate space rather than reveal mood. By 1980 Judd’s large sculptures were greatly in demand and his international stature had increased with an exhibition that same year at the Venice Biennale. The 80s also saw he begin to make furniture after becoming dissatisfied with what was then available.
Donald Judd’s first retrospective was in 1968 at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York and in 1982 he exhibited at documenta in Kassel, Germany. By 1992 the artist was elected a member of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in London. Judd’s striking multiples and editions make perfect sense when allied to his industrial approach to making art and furniture. A building he purchased in 1968 houses a permanent collection of his work in 101 Spring Street, New York.