Art Nerd New York | Los Angeles

Donald Judd’s Artsy Soho Loft Reopens

After three years of restoration, the late Donald Judd’s old stomping grounds are finally open to the public. The 101 Spring Street textile factory turned arts museum underwent a $23 million makeover, which focused mainly on preserving Judd’s iconic pieces.

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. He struck gold by landing in Soho.

Judd lived with his wife and two children on the capacious 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.

Judd preached the idea that the location of an installation was vital for understanding the meaning of the installation. 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.

Image: James S. Russell/Bloomberg

Image: James S. Russell/Bloomberg

101 Spring Street stands out in the trendy downtown community. There aren’t many buildings across the city covered in bright colors but the gallery’s blue exterior is appropriate in a creative sense. It entices people, including me, to want to stop by and see what’s inside. And even if you don’t have the time to venture inside the gallery, you can take a few moments to savor Judd’s works through the large, glassy windows.

Image ©Joshua White/Judd Foundation via Bloomberg

This dining room is unique for its simplicity. The room stretches throughout the floor and boasts sweeping views of Soho. A large, wooden table is centered in the room, while Ad Reinhardt’s “Red Painting” lies on the adjacent wall. This spacious chamber seems ideal for small parties, holiday get-togethers, and family gatherings. Donald was smart for using the upper floors as a residential area because the rooms are a decent size considering NYC is known for its claustrophobic apartments.

Image ©Josh White

Image ©Josh White

Futuristic, I must say. It takes sleeping on the floor to a totally new level. It makes it seem not so bad. The mattress on the wooden plank actually looks comfortable, as long as you’re not the type that rolls off beds. The neon lights illuminate the room, making it have a night-club feel. Red is constant throughout the gallery, especially in the bedroom. Two wall installations and the neon lights feature the devilish color.

Take a day trip downtown to see the newly renovated gallery for yourself. I know I will. The Judd Foundation plans to commence guided tours at the gallery starting Tuesday, June 18th. Don’t miss out!


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