Among the major brand stores and lavish boutiques of Soho, NYC is the quiet, unique oasis and historic gem that is 101 Spring Street. Donald Judd’s five-story home and studio has been carefully preserved as a “permanent installation” for the artist, who lived with art and furniture that was placed in very specific places throughout the building. He often emphasized the significance of the space surrounding an artwork, and how the latter can create and recalibrate the former. Though the upper floors have a museum-like sanctity (advance reservations are required for access, and photography is banned), the ground floor has become a friendlier space featuring a rotation of art, furniture and more. Most recently, this was two of Dan Flavins fluorescent light works. Starting Friday, with the support of minimalist apparel brand COS, the latest exhibition to take over the ground floor is Donald Judd: Prints.
Three complete sets of Donald Judd prints are on view, starting with 10 woodcuts from 1988 in ivory and black. The two later sets, from 1990 and 1992-1993, show the artist experimenting with color and proportion on rectangular sheets of paper. The clean, decisive space and lines were, in fact, made possible through working closely with his father Roy, writes Flavin Judd in The Woodcutter Changes Hands. A new way of thinking developed when Donald relinquished the tools over to Roy, a hobby woodworker with an incredibly skilled set of handsand making straight lines in wood is no easy task. With Roy translating, Donald was freed from the limitations of his own carpentry skills and able to throw himself completely in planning, deliberation and concepts to ultimately delve into the minimalist spatial work he is remembered for today.
The exhibition is also an opportunity to be able to sink into Judds geometric furniture designs, like the semi-enclosed walnut Bed #32. All of the other furniture on view (and also meant to be sat on) are metal furniture pieces that Judd designed in 1984 in collaboration with SwitzerlandsLehni AG, who still manufactures them to this day. Benches, tables, shelves, chairs in bold colors like Traffic Yellow and Raspberry Red are carefully placed throughout the ground floor, complementing the color studies hung on the wall. For those with a little more confidence (or who are just completely overwhelmed by the artists works), theres even a metal Bed #55 complete with comfy mattress in the middle of the space to lie down on. As a final touch, Flavin Judd has pulled some books (like Josef Albers Interaction of Color) from Donald Judds Library, tucking them a bit covertly between the furniture.
Donald Judd: Prints, with the support of COS, is open now and runs until 19 December 2015 on the ground floor of 101 Spring Street. Public hours are Thursdays to Saturdays from 1:00 to 5:30PMand of course, once youre finished perusing the exhibition, a guided visit through the rest of the historic houses five stories is a must. Advance reservations for the latter are required, as there is a maximum of eight people for each tour.
Images by Nara Shin