While owning one of Donald Judd’s stark sculptures is out of reach for most of us, there is a more affordable way to buy into the minimal artist’s oeuvre – with one of the furniture pieces he started producing in the early 1970s. He began with a wooden bed and a metal sink for his New York home on Spring Street (which has been open to the public since 2013), and continued to expand and exhibit his range of chairs, tables and shelves until his death in 1994. Unbeknown to many, these pieces continued to be produced and made available for purchase, but with no official showroom it was one of the art and design world’s best-kept secrets.
No longer. The Donald Judd Furniture website, launched during the Frieze Art Fair in New York earlier this year, offers 89 pieces designed between 1978 and 1992. The spare, utilitarian shapes are shown as drawings by Claude Armstrong, an architect who first met Judd in 1982, and are arranged in chronological order, beginning with the simple 8ft Bench 11 (price on request; available in 13 types of wood) and ending with the Plywood Bookshelf 94 (from $9,000; available in six stains). Orders can be placed online, but the pieces are made to order – taking at least 12 weeks for those in metal, which are made in Switzerland, and 18 weeks for wood, produced in California.
Just two designs are available immediately: the Pine Library Stool 42 ($1,900) and the Corner Chair 15 ($6,900) in anodised aluminium (also available for custom order in copper, brass or 21 painted shades on aluminium, including vibrant yellow, turquoise and red). “The stool is so simple,” says Rainer Judd, daughter of the late artist and co-president of the Judd Foundation. “It seemed like a good place to start as it’s grounded in the Spring Street space. And the Corner Chair reminds me of the way Don would sit; it was like a cowboy slouched with his legs crossed and leaning to the side.”