The late US artist Donald Judd is synonymous in the art world with his supremely understated freestanding or wall-mounted work. Judd described his box-shaped pieces as objects rather than sculptures, partly because he employed commercial manufacturers to make them, a hands-off approach that emphasised his seemingly impersonal aesthetic.
So much for Judd’s restraint; his fans will be cock-a-hoop that his work will be celebrated on a huge scale in time to mark his birthday, June 3 1928. A major Judd show opens on Friday June 21 at the David Zwirner gallery in London. “Incorporating sculpture, drawings, printmaking, collecting and writing, Judd’s holistic approach to his practice arguably remains unparalleled in 20th-century art, as well as today,” says Angela Choon, the gallery’s director.
Judd is often described as a minimalist, a label he despised. In fact, on closer examination, his work is rich and complex. As demonstrated by another exhibition, Donald Judd: The Multicolored Works, at the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts in St Louis, Missouri (until Saturday January 4 2014), he pitted raw-looking materials such as plywood against synthetic ones such as red Plexiglas.
What is more, from Monday June 3, following a three-year restoration, Judd’s home-cum-studio at 101 Spring Street, SoHo, New York, will open to the public for the first time (guided tours can be booked online). One of several pioneering artists who colonised this former industrial area in the 1960s, Judd bought his cast-iron frame building in 1968. He designed its kitchen and bathroom and filled its open-plan, rough plaster-walled interiors with artworks by Carl André and Dan Flavin and pared-down furniture by modernist titans Alvar Aalto and Gerrit Rietveld.
Preserved as Judd left it when he died in 1994, his New York domain provides an eye-opening insight into his world and avant-garde taste in art and architecture.
First picture: Untitled, July 6 1964. Second picture: Untitled (Menziken 88-27), 1988.