July 29, 2015

New York’s Judd Foundation Opens to the Public

A five-story, cast-iron building in New York’s SoHo neighborhood was designed by Nicholas Whyte in 1870. Almost a century later, artist Donald Judd bought 101 Spring Street and the address has been associated with him, his family, and his oeuvre ever since. At the time, Judd used the ground floor as his personal gallery, pioneering the idea of “permanent installation” in contemporary art and turning his very living space into a sculpture. When the artist passed away in 1994, access to the building was limited. It wasn’t until Architecture Research Office restored the residence, even down to the patina and chipped paint, that the Judd Foundation opened the building as a public museum. But reservations are required—and tough to come by.

A new initiative launched by his son Flavin and daughter Rainer sought to restore the first floor to Judd’s original intention. Visitors are free to enter the space and explore on Friday and Saturday afternoons. The inaugural exhibition, “Make Art, Not Pipelines: Get in on the Ground Floor,” through September 19, includes a daybed by Judd, four books from his library in Marfa, Texas, and two works in fluorescent tubes, which happen to be by his long-time friend Dan Flavin.

Speaking to Flavin Judd, co-president of his father’s foundation, he remarked, “While I grew up around the art, it was a normal thing to me and I didn’t know anybody who didn’t have art or didn’t consider it important.” The hope is that this new exhibition will allow people to have a greater familiarity with art, and through familiarity, appreciation.

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