Door 11: Donald Judd

Repetition is proverbial the mother of learning or wisdom. An artist, who took this to another extreme, was the American minimalist Donald Judd. All his life he fought that categorization, but in retrospective is seen as its biggest pioneer.

He was born in 1928 in Excelsior Springs, Missouri and served from 1946 to 1947 in the army. A year later, he began studying and first earned a degree in philosophy at the Columbia University School of General Studies. Around the same time he began painting and additionally started to take evening classes at the Art Students League of New York.

After his first solo exhibition in 1957, he started to move away from painting as he got more interested in space and saw the limits in classical painting or sculpture. This thought process peaked in his seminal theoretical work Specific Objects, released in 1964. At the same time he started to create his first boxes and used humble materials such as metals, industrial plywood, concrete and color-impregnated Plexiglas.

These materials and forms occupied him for the next thirty years. He countlessly repeated them and thereby explored space, surface, volume and, as aforementioned, form. In 1968 he bought on 101 Spring Street a five-story building, an abandoned factory, which became his home, studio, and permanent exhibition space.

As his works got bigger and he personally wanted some time out from the hectic city, he bought in 1979, after annual trips to Baja California, land with abandoned U.S. Army buildings in Marfa, Texas. Here he created some of his biggest installations and also helped the small town to international art-fame until today.