Donald Judd is widely regarded as one of the most important artists of the twentieth century. A key exponent of minimalism, Judd (1928–1994) worked
across art, furniture and architecture.
Ikon presented the ﬁrst major exhibition in the UK exclusively devoted to Judd’s furniture and related drawings. A good chair is a good chair comprised chairs, beds, shelves, desks and tables made from solid wood, metal and ply, charting the reﬁnement of Judd’s design and production processes.
A catalogue accompanied the exhibition, priced £25. Visit Ikon’s online shop for the full range of Ikon catalogues and limited editions
Crucial to Ikon’s presentation were a number of prototypes made during Judd’s lifetime, including early examples he constructed himself, such as Bookshelves (1968) and Children’s Desk (1977). These are rarely shown outside of his adopted home of Marfa, Texas. Constructed from timber-yard pine planks nailed together, they clearly inform his later designs which became more commercially orientated. Desk and Chair (both 1984), made of
clear anodised aluminium and copper respectively, demonstrate Judd’s move from hand-crafted forms to embracing methods of industrial manufacture.
Ten Chairs (1991), fabricated speciﬁcally for this exhibition, epitomise the artist’s uncompromising focus on the purity of form; the internal space
of each unit being subdivided across a variety of permutations.
Having begun his career as a writer and critic, Judd’s theoretical texts on art and exhibition practice remain strongly relevant, as do his furniture designs which are still manufactured today and continue to resonate in contemporary
The conﬁguration and scale of art cannot be transposed into furniture and architecture. The intent of art is different from that of the latter, which must be functional. If a chair or a building is not functional, if it appears to be only art, it is ridiculous … Furniture is furniture and is only art in that architecture, ceramics, textiles and many things are art.
Donald Judd, It’s hard to ﬁnd a good lamp, 1993
This exhibition was organised in partnership with the Judd Foundation.
Judd’s furniture is available to purchase through special order, please phone Ikon Shop on 0121 248 0711 for prices and further details regarding the choice of forms, material and colour.
Film Screening: Marfa Voices
Saturday 16 October and Saturday 13 November
2–3.30pm – free
Events Room, Ikon Gallery, Brindleyplace
Ikon showed the ﬁlm Marfa Voices: A Work in Progress (2006) by Donald Judd’s daughter Rainer. This features excerpts from the Judd Foundation’s oral history project. A series of interviews with residents of Marfa, Texas, take place in various studios and buildings originally owned by the artist. The ﬁlm reﬂects on Judd’s legacy and the impact of his relocation to this small Texan town.
Donald Judd Press Release (PDF 85kb)