Project Profile: The Donald Judd Catalogue Raisonné

Donald Judd in his studio © Judd Foundation

Artist:  Donald Judd (1928-1994)
Scope:  Sculptures, paintings, and woodblocks
Years Covered:  1940s to 1994
Print or Digital:  Undecided
Database:  FileMaker Pro
Schedule:  The project was begun in earnest in 2009, although research that benefits the catalogue raisonné was begun several years earlier.  A publication date has not yet been set.
Supported by:  Judd Foundation and the support of anonymous donors

CRSA:  What are some of the Donald Judd Catalogue Raisonné’s primary resources?
DJCR:  We used the lifetime catalogue raisonné (Del Balso, Smith, and Smith 1975) as a jumping off point.  However, this catalogue only includes work completed between August 1960 and mid-1974, leaving several decades at the beginning and end of his career completely uncatalogued.  Judd worked with a wide range of fabricators, so our primary sources are the fabricator records and a running record that Judd’s studio assistants kept beginning in 1968.  We’re lucky to have a number of the studio assistants involved with the project and their memories and stories add so much depth and context to our daily research.

CRSA:  What is something you have come across in your research that changed your understanding of the way Donald Judd worked?
DJCR:  This past June we opened Judd’s Soho studio to the public after three years of active restoration.  The catalogue raisonné offices are located in the basement of the building, which affords us special insight into how Judd’s living and working spaces continue to resonate with the art, design, and architecture communities.  It has brought Judd’s insistence that “art should be made as one lives” into high relief and affects how we interact with the research we are collecting. One starts to really understand the importance of permanently installed spaces when working in one.

CRSA: What specific challenges do you face in researching Donald Judd?
DJCR:  Each catalogue raisonné project has a different set of challenges even though they may look similar on the surface.  It’s been complicated to parse the varying records among the large number of fabricators he used.  The numbering system became a bit confused at a certain point with duplicate numbers, unfinished works, rejected works, and restored works.  It can also be extremely difficult to identify exactly which works were exhibited as Judd’s works are nearly all untitled and black-and-white installation photographs may only tell you what type of work was shown (i.e. a large “stack”) not the exact work that was shown (i.e. the large stack in copper and pink Plexiglas from 1983).

For more information, please refer to Judd Foundation’s website juddfoundation.org
or contact Katy Rogers at krogers@juddfoundation.org.

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