Lofty ideal

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The New York City residence and studio of late American artist Donald Judd opened to the public in June after a three-year restoration (visits can now be made by appointment). The five-storeyed building in SoHo features wide-open spaces that provide the ideal settings for Judd’s contemporary sculptures, noted for their minimalist, linear qualities.

Led by the Judd Foundation, the restoration of the building the artist purchased in 1968 ensured all parts of the home and studio were kept or refurbished exactly as Judd initially created them. Judd’s work on the building in the 1970s cemented his ideas about what he called ‘permanent installation’: his theory that a work of art’s placement is critical to the understanding of the work itself. And his interest in how objects relate to the space in which they are placed is evident throughout the building.

His fifth-floor bedroom features a wall-to- wall 1970 Dan Flavin fluorescent light piece extending the length of the loft space; elsewhere Judd’s own works are on display. “The interrelation of the architecture of 101 Spring Street, its own and what I’ve invented, with the pieces installed there, has led to many of my newer, larger pieces: ones involving whole spaces. Several main ideas have come from thinking about the spaces and the situation of that building,” said Judd in 1977.


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