CASE STUDY // Judd Foundation


Address: 101 Spring St, New York, NY 10012

104 Highland Avenue South Marfa, TX

Co-founders: Flavin Judd and Rainer Judd

Institution type: Non-Profit Organization (NPO)

Target Audience: artists and architects

Contacts:  Michele F. Saiola (Director of Programs)

Allison Ake (Visitor Service Coordinator)

Charlotte (artist tour guide)

Mission: Judd Foundation’s mission is to maintain and preserve Donald Judd’s permanently installed living and working spaces, libraries, and archives in New York and Marfa, Texas. The Foundation aims to promote a wider understanding of and appreciation for Judd’s artistic legacy by facilitating public access to these spaces and resources and by developing scholarly and educational programs.

judd-studentsDonald Judd with students, 1974. Photograph: Barbara Quinn

Brief History of the Judd Foundation: The five-story building was constructed by Nicholas Whyte in 1870. It was intended to house retail stores and administrative offices but it developed into a sewing factory. Donald Judd, one of the most influential pioneers of the Minimal Art movement, bought the Soho building in 1968 before the neighborhood transformed into the arts haven it is today. He moved from a small studio in Gramercy Park in hopes of living and working in a space that could accommodate his many works.


Judd lived with his wife and two children on the upper floors while the lower floors were used as studio and exhibition spaces. The abundance of light in the loft provided illumination for the display of artwork, which helped Judd promote his creations to the thousands of New Yorkers passing Spring Street on a daily basis.

1002aJudd truly believed in the idea that the location of an installation was vital for understanding the meaning of it. That’s why this building is so important. Each floor consists of installations placed in meticulous positions, which ultimately helps the public gain a better understanding of Judd’s visions.


General Information from Tour:

  • Donald Judd bought this 1870 Nicholas Whyte, five-story cast-iron former sewing factory in 1968 to serve as his house and studio.
  • As a result, many artists moved to the area and SoHo became an area with a large artists and art gallery concentration.
  • The Judd Foundation was founded by Flavin and Rainer Judd (son and daughter of Donald Judd) in honor of their father’s will in his testament to preserve his art and his home as a foundation.
  • The home is divided programmatically per floor:
    • ground floor: exhibition/gallery space
    • second floor: living and kitchen space
    • third floor: library and studio space
    • fourth floor: parlor space
    • fifth floor: sleeping space
  • The Judd Foundation is partnered with other foundations such as the Dia Foundation.
  • For Donald Judd it was important that the space in which the art is found relates to the art. That is why most of his artwork is designed site specific.
  • Though he is considered an American Minimalist artist, Donald Judd did not like this term since he thought it reduced art to merely nothing. He asked about “what is minimalism? Is it even a thing?”
  • The target audience is limited to artists and architects because the foundation believes that the quality of the experience is more important than the quantity of visitors and architects and artists are more likely to understand and enjoy the work of Donald Judd.
  • The Judd Foundation intends to bring back the community of artist and residents that is not present anymore with their SoHo location.
  • Since the organization is a non-profit, they have resorted to fundraisers and endowments (selling artwork for money) cover staff and operational costs.
  • The cast iron façade of the building was completely renovated because it was falling apart, and the building was somewhat altered to meet code requirements for public use (i.e. contracting walls on the fourth floor).
  • Though some alterations were  made in order for the building to be used for the public
  • The Judd foundation is a private organization that invites the public; therefore the building is not compliant to public museum requirements.
  • Some government authorities that influenced in the restoration of the Judd Foundation’s Soho building were the National Trust for Historic Preservation, specifically the Historic Artists’ Homes and Studios.
  • Donald Judd personally created the Chinati Foundation in Marfa, Texas that holds more than one piece various artist to in order to better understand their ideas.
  • Marfa, Texas is located in the border between the United States and Mexico, and because of the Chinati Foundation, tourism increased and many artists moved temporarily as a retreat for inspiration.




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