Donald Judd: 101 Spring Street

27 May 2016

“I spent a great deal of time placing the art and a great deal designing the renovation in accordance. Everything from the first was intended to be thoroughly considered and to be permanent.” - DONALD JUDD

Like no one else, Judd understood the significance of space. In place of the term minimalism, he preferred to speak of the simple expression of complex thought, and 101 Spring Street – like Marfa – is a perfect embodiment of this demanding manifesto. In a 19th century, cast iron corner building, arranged over five storeys above two basements, Judd shows that space does not have to be crafted from scratch to feel special and refined. Everywhere you move, you are conscious of being in space that is comfortable, for people and for art. Because the found conditions were different on each level of the building, each intervention is also slightly different. On the top floor, for example, he used the same oak for the skirtings as for the floor, so that the floor reads as a recessed plane. On the third floor, in contrast, he chose to have no skirtings at all, instead running a gap between the walls and the floor, which quietly, but completely, changes the spatial composition. There is a special, intimate charge to the atmosphere because Judd has created the perfect circumstances for installing art – his own and other people’s – in an environment that is also, unequivocally, a home. This is a place for living, working, and gathering, from the utensils in the industrial kitchen, the platform bed, and the standing desk, down to the hinged timber flap for his two children, Rainer and Flavin, to use as a play theatre. I remember visiting Luis Barragán’s house in Mexico City some years ago, and having a powerful sense of the man having just left the room. In Spring Street the feeling is even more overwhelming, not least because I met Judd, and have a clear memory of what his presence meant in a place.

juddfoundation.org