Local History: Selections from Judd Foundation’s Photo Archive, Part I

To celebrate the publication of ‘Donald Judd Spaces,’ a visual survey of the homes, studios, and ranch houses of the artist Donald Judd in New York and Texas, this four-part Local History will explore selections from Judd Foundation’s archive of historic photos. The Judd Foundation Archives, located in Marfa, Texas, contain over seventeen thousand slides, transparencies, negatives, and prints that serve as records of Judd’s life and work. Each of these four installments will focus on one space, beginning with photographic documentation of the development of 101 Spring Street.

Judd purchased this five-story cast-iron building, located at the corner of Spring and Mercer Streets in the SoHo neighborhood of New York, in November 1968. For nearly a century prior, 101 Spring Street had been used for the manufacture, distribution, and sale of textiles. This photo, from the 1960s, shows the name “Lanigan & Cross Machinists” on the ground floor window.


As Judd noted, “The building had been very damaged inside,” and required extensive repairs. During the initial renovation, Judd and his family lived on the fourth and fifth floors, as seen in this 1970 photo of the fifth floor taken by Judd with his Hasselblad camera.


Judd used the ground floor as his studio and a place for temporary installations, as seen in the portrait and installation image below, both taken by photographer Paul Katz. Katz took a number of portraits of Judd in the 1970s in color and black and white, as well as photos of the interior and exterior of 101 Spring Street. Katz was the photographer of art at the Guggenheim Museum from 1962 to 1973. Additionally, Katz took nearly 2,000 photographs and negatives of artists and their studios between the 1960s and 1980s. In addition to his photos of Judd and 101 Spring Street in the Judd Foundation Archives, the majority of Katz’s photographic collection can be found in the Image Collection of the National Gallery of Art Library.


The development of the individual floors for distinct functions evolved over time as the building was restored. The black and white photograph below, taken by Jamie Dearing, one of Judd’s long-time studio assistants, demonstrates the way in which the various floors of 101 Spring Street were in flux in the 1970s. This photo of the ground floor shows a number of works that Judd later installed permanently in his home and studio, La Mansana de Chinati/The Block, and in his Architecture Studio, both in Marfa, Texas. Additionally, the third floor was used by Judd as a studio and includes two works of his that are placed permanently (left to right: untitled, 1966; untitled, 1969), as seen in the color photo below from 1975.


Jamie Dearing worked for Judd from 1967 to 1983, during which time he took thousands of photographs that are now part of the Judd Foundation Archives. The Jamie Dearing Archive at Judd Foundation contains 26 boxes of prints and negatives. In 2017, a Judd Foundation Archives Fellow scanned all of the Dearing photographic material creating over 3,700 digitized images that document Judd’s work in Marfa and New York, as well as travels to Mexico and the Southwest United States.

As Dearing recalled in a 2007 Oral History Interview conducted by Judd Foundation, he met Judd as a student in the Whitney Independent Study Program:

I was a student in New York City in the 1960s, studying at the Whitney Museum, and it had a visiting artist in residency program, very short-lived seminars given by a lot of living American artists at the time. Donald Judd was one of them, and as a student I was exceedingly impressed with the seminar that he gave to us, and had been interested in his work previously. And it was during the time he was beginning to prepare for a major installation for the Whitney Museum, his first major museum show, and I needed a job [Don Judd, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, February 27–March 24, 1968, extended through April 14]. Essentially I needed more money than I was getting to finish my studies and I asked one of the people on the staff at the Whitney, David Hubert, head of the art department there, if he knew of any employment with the Whitney or anywhere, and he said, “Don Judd is looking for someone to help him out in his studio, I’ll ask him.” And right away the next day I got a call from David saying, “Judd is interested, go over and talk to him.” So I went to, I guess it was 19thStreet, where his studio was at the time, and we had lunch, and he had very little to say, other than he had a lot of projects going on all the time and that art and life mixed together fairly freely in his working life, and I would be doing any number of things, would I be interested? And I said, “Sure,” and I started the next day. So, from that day in ’68, probably, until I think the winter of 1983, I worked with Don on all sorts of projects.

In this photo from 1974, Judd is seen with students from the Whitney Independent Study Program on the ground floor of 101 Spring Street. The artists Ron Clark and Julian Schnabel can be seen seated to the left and right of Judd respectively.


Judd used the ground floor of 101 Spring Street as a site of activity, hosting temporary exhibitions of his work and the work of other artists such as Madeline O’Connor, Robert Tiemann, Meg Webster, John Wesley, and Hyong-Keun Yun. Additionally, as seen below, in May 1989, Rudi Fuchs, curator at Haags Gemeentemuseum in Holland and a good friend of Judd’s, organized an exhibition of works by Swiss artist Richard Paul Lohse. In a 1988 essay on Lohse’s work, Judd wrote, “It’s a truism, one for everyone, that Lohse’s work will not come again. Now many are laudably interested in Malevich; not long ago they weren’t. The attitudes implicit in Lohse’s work, including strong and still radical ideas about the society, are very interesting, both as to what is older and what newer” (“Richard Paul Lohse”, 1988 in Donald Judd Writings, 514-516).

In addition to these exhibitions, Judd also hosted fundraisers for the War Resistors League on the ground floor. Judd first became involved in the War Resisters League in 1968. Jessie Wallace Hughan, his wife’s great aunt, founded the League in 1923. At the 1986 benefit, Judd purchased a work by Carl Andre, Manifest Destiny, which he installed on the ground floor.

Today, Judd Foundation continues this history of ground floor activity through public programs and temporary exhibitions. After reopening 101 Spring Street to the public in 2013, Judd Foundation has hosted exhibitions on the ground floor of works by Alvar Aalto, John Chamberlain, Dan Flavin, Yayoi Kusama, Richard Long, James Rosenquist, and Lauretta Vinciarelli. Please visit our Programs page, where you can learn more about Judd Foundation’s exhibitions and talks.




Images from top to bottom: Exterior of 101 Spring Street. Photo c. 1960s. Courtesy Judd Foundation Archives, Marfa, Texas; Julie Finch Judd with Flavin Judd and Rainer Judd. Photo 1970. Donald Judd © Judd Foundation; Donald Judd, ground floor, 101 Spring Street. Photo 1972. © Paul Katz. Judd Foundation Archives, Marfa, Texas; Temporary installation, ground floor, 101 Spring Street, to right: untitled, 1974; untitled, 1963. Photo 1975. © Paul Katz. Courtesy of the National Gallery of Canada; Ground floor, 101 Spring Street. Photo c. 1970s. Jamie Dearing © Judd Foundation. Jamie Dearing Archive, Judd Foundation Archives, Marfa, Texas; Third floor, 101 Spring Street. Photo 1975. © Paul Katz. Courtesy of the National Gallery of Canada; Donald Judd with the Whitney Independent Study Group, ground floor, 101 Spring Street; Ron Clark seated to the left of Judd and Julian Schnabel seated to the right. Photo 1974. © Barbara Quinn. Courtesy the Whitney Museum of American Art; Temporary exhibition of work by Richard Paul Lohse, ground floor, 101 Spring Street. Photo 1989. © Judd Foundation.