Arguably one of the most important American post-war artists, Donald Judd created sculptures that combined industrial materials and mathematic theory. Although he strongly rejected the term, Judd is widely regarded as a leading exponent of Minimalism and is its most important theoretician through such seminal writings as “Specific Objects” (1964). Through his practice and writing, Judd had a significant influence on the course of late 20th Century sculpture.
Born in Missouri in 1928, Judd moved to New York after serving in the United States Army from 1946 to 1947. In New York, Judd completed a degree in Philosophy at Columbia University in 1953, before studying at the Art Students League. He initially began his career as a critic, writing for publications including Art International, Arts Magazine and Art News.
By the early 1960s, Judd had left painting behind and turned instead to three-dimensional objects as the basis of his practice. Working mainly with metal, Plexiglas and plywood, he utilized techniques and methods associated with the Bauhaus School to give his works an impersonal, factory-made aesthetic. He developed an artistic idiom based on regular, repeated geometric units of boxes and stacks that were hung on the wall or placed on the floor.
Judd’s works have been criticized for a seeming lack of content. His goal was to make simple objects that stood on their own as part of an expanded field of image making and did not allude to anything beyond their own physical presence.
Judd’s works can be found in the permanent collections of The Judd Foundation, 101 Spring Street, New York, Marfa, Texas, and the neighboring Chinati Foundation. His work is also held in many major collections, including the Tate, London; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C., and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago.
Donald Judd died in New York City on February 12, 1994.