Donald Judd

Year of birth, place
1928, Excelsior Springs
Year of death, place
1994, New York
Role at the ZKM
in the collection
Donald Judd was born in Excelsior Springs in 1928. He studied (1949-53) at the Arts Students League, New York, then took a degree in Philosophy at Columbia University. He continued here from 1957 to 1962, studying Art History under Rudolf Wittkower and Meyer Schapiro. During his career, Judd received numerous prizes, awards and grants. These made possible extensive travel in Europe during the 1960s. Judd taught at several universities and in the United States. Donald Judd died in New York in 1994.

In the early 1950s Judd experimented with both  figurative and abstract painting. From 1955, however, worked in an exclusively abstract style, producing oil paintings with abstract shapes shown against monochrome backgrounds. From around 1960, however, linear elements began to dominate in Judd's work. His continuing rejection of all illusionism led him in 1961-62 to abandon painting altogether and to take up sculpture. He made monochrome reliefs in wood, enamel and aluminium, and his first free-standing objects, which he displayed without any form of pedestal or base. From the mid-1960s he made increasing use of plywood, aluminium, stainless steel and plexiglass. Formally, his work was characterized by a reduction to the simplest basic shapes, with uniform surface texture and monochrome colour. Judd's preference for exhibiting his frequently multi-part works as series, often placed along a wall or floor, gives his sculptures a strong spatial dimension. In Judd's view, all the categories within his oeuvre - as well as paintings and sculptures he also produced drawings and prints, architectural projects, objects and designs for furniture - enjoyed equal importance. Judd is widely regarded as one of the pioneers of Minimal Art. 

Individual exhibitions (selection)
1957 Panoras Gallery, New York
1966 Leo Castelli Gallery, New York
1968 Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
1969 Galerie Bischoffsberger, Zürich; »Donald Judd: Structures«, Galerie Ileana Sonnabend, Paris
1970 Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven
1975 National Gallery, Ottawa
1979 »Donald Judd: Survey of Work 1963-1979«, Leo Castelli Gallery, New York
1987 »Donald Judd, Sculptures 1965-1987«, Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven
1988 Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
1989 Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden; Waddington Galleries, London; »Donald Judd, Architektur«, Westfälischer Kunstverein, Münster
1990 Künstlerverein, Moscow; Kunstverein, St. Gallen
1991 »Donald Judd, Architektur«, MAK - Österreichisches Museum für augewandte Kunst, Vienna
1994 »Donald Judd, Sculpture«, Galerie Pace Wildenstein, New York; »Donald Judd, Kunst und Design«, Städtische Kunstsammlungen Chemnitz, subsequently at Museum Wiesbaden, Badisches Landesmuseum, Karlsruhe
1997 The Sculpture Garden, Galerie Pace Wildenstein, New York; Brooke Alexander, New York; »Donald Judd, Sculpture, Furniture and Prints«, Centro Cultural de Belém, Lisbon; Lisson Gallery, London
Group exhibitions (selection)
1952 »Twenty-Second Annual Jersey State Exhibition«, Montclair Art Museum, New Jersey
1965 São Paulo Biennal, São Paulo; »5 Sculptors«, Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia
1968 documenta IV, Kassel
1974 »Less is More: The Influence of the Bauhaus on America«, Lowe Art Museum, Miami
1976 Biennale di Venezia, Venice
1977 »Skulptur. Ausstellung in Münster 1977«, Münster
1982 documenta VII, Kassel
1985 »Contrasts of Form: Geometrie Abstract Art 1910-1980«, The Museum of Modern Art, New York
1986 »Qu'est-ce que la sculpture moderne?«, Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris
1987 »Skulptur. Projekte in Münster 1987«, Münster
1989 »Bilderstreit«, Museum Ludwig, Rheinhallen, Cologne
1993 »Shapes and Positions«, Museum Fridericianum, Kassel
1993 »Amerikanische Kunst im 20. Jahrhundert«, Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin, subsequently at Royal Academy of Arts, London
1997 »Die Epoche der Moderne«, Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin

[David Richardt, 1997]