A room of wooden floors and furniture, and a colorful artwork on the wall of the Judd Foundation

Grandlife guide

Step Inside Donald Judd's Finest Work

back to list

In 1968, a young artist by the name of Donald Judd purchased a former department store in SoHo for less than $70,000. “There was no SoHo when Judd bought his building,” artist Carl Andre once noted of the neighborhood then populated by sweatshops and small factories. Times have changed, as they are known to do, but in an astonishing feat of conservation, the five-story cast-iron building, which Judd transformed floor by floor into his home, studio, and ultimately an extension of his aesthetic and philosophical expression, is once again almost precisely as the artist left it. For the past five years, 101 Spring Street has been operating as a permanent museum following an extensive $23 million overhaul led by Judd’s daughter and son and members of the Judd Foundation.  

True to Judd’s vision and rejection of European illusionism, the space is a reflection of his concept that the work should represent itself. From the books in his library, bottles of liquor, and fine works of Dan Flavin and Frank Stella, the foundation has taken every measure to keep the SoHo museum frozen in 1994 when it was last inhabited. The five floors each tell an intimate story, from the lecture space on the first floor to the simple beauty of Judd’s fifth-floor open-concept bedroom lined with fluorescent tubes. Visitors enter an intimate space once inhabited by the artist, who never knew it would eventually become his last work of art.

The former residence and studio isn’t just the last purely unadulterated industrial building on the block, it’s also Judd’s finest work—intentional or not. Every object inside the building breaks out of the traditional rectangles of two-dimensional art, expands from the confines of gallery walls, and even defies the grid known as Manhattan itself. Judd wasn’t interested in temporary installations or juxtaposing a sculpture somewhere to be critiqued, cataloged, and removed. He wanted to create permanent spaces that were the art.

Currently, Donald Judd: Paintings 1960-1961 will be on display on the ground floor of 101 Spring Street through December. The nine untitled works in the exhibition reflect Judd’s preoccupation with the possibility of creating non-illusionistic space in two dimensions and display his experimental approach with a variety of techniques and materials including found objects, wax, and sand. Curated by Judd’s son, Flavin, the exhibition will be accompanied by public programs looking at Judd’s painting practice.    

You May Also Like

Chinese cuisine - soup, seasonings and calamari

The Spice is Right: Chinese Cuisine's Greatest Hits

food & drink
stories
Our list of iconic dishes and where to find them downtown. Fortune cookie, anyone?
cookies and crumbs on a baking sheet

A Fall Cookie Recipe & More from Janice Alida Joseph

food & drink
stories
The model-baker shares her delicious black pepper cookie recipe alongside some of her favorite local spots to satiate that sweet tooth. 
New York Art Gallery Guide Storm King Dia:Beacon Opus 40 Edward Hopper House

Escape the Everyday with these Fall Art Trips

art & design
stories
Whether you’re after an outdoor sculpture garden or a boutique gallery surrounded by upstate charm, there’s an art escape to suit.
New York's Best Openings

New York's Best Openings

bars & nightlife
food & drink
restaurants
stories
From an intimate French wine bar in "Dimes Square" to a 4000-square-foot brasserie, we round up the best new spots to try.
5 Compact Overnight Bags for all your Weekend Trip Essentials

5 Compact Overnight Bags for all your Weekend Trip Essentials

fashion
shopping
travel
stories
Skip baggage check and get to your destination quicker thanks to these five carry-on bags from brands rethinking how we travel. 
Natural Organic wine Guide NYC Wildair Ten Bells Frenchette Racines Hemlock

Natural High: The 5 Best Wine Bars Downtown

food & drink
stories
If you ever needed a reason to drink wine, this is sure to be it.
NYC Restaurant Week's Best Tables

NYC Restaurant Week's Best Tables

food & drink
restaurants
stories
We've sorted through the hundreds-long list to bring you the very best reservations downtown.
Weekends in Williamsburg

Weekends in Williamsburg

bars & nightlife
fashion
food & drink
restaurants
stories
From a wine bar co-owned by LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy to a veritable treasure trove of vintage finds—our guide to the eclectic Brooklyn neighborhood.
Best Rate Promise
Soho Grand Hotel

310 West Broadway
New York, NY 10013

(212) 965-3000
The Roxy Hotel New York

2 6th Avenue
New York, NY 10013

212.519.6600