Biography

One of the most significant artists of the twentieth century, the radical ideas and work of Donald Judd continue to provoke and influence the fields of art, architecture, and design.

Born Donald Clarence Judd on June 3, 1928 in Excelsior Springs, Missouri, he served in the United States Army from June 1946 until November 1947, then attended the College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia; and Columbia University, New York, where he received a B.S. in Philosophy, cum laude, in 1953. Studying at the Art Student’s League in New York, Judd began his artistic career as a painter, and transitioned to three-dimensional work in the early 1960s. During this time, Judd worked as a critic for ARTnews, Arts Magazine, and Art International; his subsequent theoretical writings on art and exhibition practices would prove to be an important aspect of his legacy.

Judd married choreographer Julie Finch in 1964 (later divorced) and had two children, son Flavin Starbuck Judd, in 1968, and daughter Rainer Yingling Judd, in 1970. Judd purchased 101 Spring Street in 1968, a five-story cast-iron building designed by Nicholas Whyte in New York. At Spring Street, Judd first began the permanent installation of his work as well as works of his contemporaries, a process he would continue throughout his life in both New York and Texas. Judd began to purchase properties in Marfa, Texas in 1973 where he would continue installing his work and the work of others on a permanent basis until his death in 1994. These Judd Foundation spaces, including studios, library, living quarters, and ranches, reflect the diversity of his life’s work. In parallel, Judd founded The Chinati Foundation/La Fundación Chinati in 1986 specifically for the permanent installation of large-scale works by Judd and his contemporaries.

For almost four decades, Judd exhibited regularly throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia. Major exhibitions of his work include the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (1968, 1988); the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa (1975); Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, The Netherlands (1987); and Tate Modern, London (2004). A major retrospective of Judd’s work is forthcoming at The Museum of Modern Art, New York.