Object of the day

Sitting Pretty

Chair by Donald Judd

Donald Judd (1928-1994) is widely regarded as one of the most significant American artists of the post-war period. He is perhaps best-known for the large-scale outdoor installations and long, spacious interiors he designed in Marfa, Texas.

His oeuvre has come to define what has been referred to as Minimalist art—a label the artist strongly objected to. His sculptures and installations, constructed out of industrial materials such as Plexiglas, concrete, and steel and arranged in precise geometric shapes, were intended to emphasize the purity of the objects themselves rather than any symbolic meaning they might have—“the simple expression of complex thought,” said Judd.

Composition with Red, Blue and Yellow (1930) by Piet Mondrian, who was an early influence on Judd

However, Judd’s work extends beyond these large-scale installations. He began to address the concept and design of furniture more intensely after moving to Marfa in the 1970’s. Judd was unsatisfied with the furniture available so he decided to design and make his own.

The year before he died, Judd wrote an essay on the topic, entitled It’s Hard to Find a Good Lamp.

In this essay he says,

If a chair or a building is not functional, if it appears to be only art, it is ridiculous...A work of art exists as itself; a chair exists as a chair itself.

There you have it. Judd’s work - both in furniture and art - led him to design both the objects and the spaces in which they would be contained, influencing a generation of future artists and designers from Anish Kapoor to In Kyum Kim.

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