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Donald Judd - United States Artist From Art History

Art History - Historical Artists > J > Donald Judd

donald judd united states artist
Donald JUDD Untitled
[Six boxes]

donald judd united states artist
Donald Judd
Untitled, 1993

donald judd united states artist
Donald Judd
Untitled, 1978

Historical Artist - Donald Judd (1928 - 1994)

Donald Judd was born in Excelsior Springs, Missouri. At Columbia University School of General Studies he earned a degree in philosophy and worked towards a master's in art history under Rudolf Wittkower and Meyer Shapiro. During that time Donald Judd also attended night classes at the Arts Students League in New York City.

Donald Judd began his career working as an art critic for Arts Magazine. His first solo exhibition, of expressionist paintings, opened in New York in 1957. His artistic style soon moved away from illusory media and embraced constructions in which materiality was central to the work. He initially worked in wood, adopting industrially manufactured metal boxes in the late 1960’s.

In 1968 Donald Judd bought a five-story building in New York that allowed him to start placing his work in a more permanent manner than was possible in gallery or museum shows. This would later lead him to push for permanent installations for his work and that of others, as he believed that temporary exhibitions, being designed by curators for the public, placed the art itself in the background, ultimately degrading it due to incompetency or incomprehension. This would become a major preoccupation as the idea of permanent installation grew in importance and his distaste for the art world grew in equal proportion.

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s he produced radical work that eschewed the classical European ideals of representational sculpture. Donald Judd believed that art should not represent anything, that it should unequivocally stand on its own and simply exist. During the seventies he started making room sized installations that made the spaces themselves his playground and the viewing of his art a visceral, physical experience. His aesthetic followed his own strict rules against illusion and falsity, producing work that was clear, strong and definite. As he grew older he also worked with furniture, design, and architecture.

In 1976 Donald Judd served as Baldwin Professor at Oberlin College in Ohio. Beginning in 1983, he lectured at universities across the United States, Europe and Asia on both art and its relationship to architecture.

In 1979, with help from the Dia Art Foundation, Donald Judd purchased a tract of desert land near Marfa, Texas which included the abandoned buildings of the former U.S. Army Fort D. A. Russell. The Chinati Foundation opened on the site in 1986 as a non-profit art foundation, dedicated to Judd and his contemporaries.

Judd fathered two children, Flavin Starbuck and Rainer Yingling. He died in Manhattan of lymphoma in 1994.

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