Donald Judd's meticulously restored home studio opens for guided tours (by appointment only) on June 3. Touring 101 Spring Street, which saw a $23 million overhaul that ranged from its massive windows and cast-iron exterior to the installation of a virtually hidden fire safety system by ARO and an army of other experts, is like stepping into a place frozen in time.
Archicritics have so far had nothing but praise for the results of the in-depth restoration process, whose entire mission was to leave everything unchanged but also make the five-story tenement building, which the artist bought for $68,000 in 1968, safe for visitors. New York Magazine commented on how Judd's "industrial chic" architectural whims were actually ahead of their time, while the Times reviewer was struck by the surprising impact and insight gleaned from perusing the rooms of Manhattan's only preserved house museum: "Spending time in them looking at the art, the everyday objects and his deliberate arrangement of everything can be a life-changing experience." Meanwhile, sometimes-poet and Bloomberg critic James Russell also put forth his take today, and we wouldn't be doing it justice if we didn't summarize his laudatory overview in free verse.
Rippled antique-style glass
turn the cast-iron scrollwork and fire escapes of SoHo
into shimmering abstractions.
His boxlike constructions relate to floors, walls, ceilings.
The colored tubes by Dan Flavin that march across the room,
echoing the rhythm of a gorgeous row of windows.
Makes the empty volumes of the rooms almost palpable.
In a world where authenticity seems elusive,
101 Spring Street is a sublime corrective.
If you go, expect to find Judd's kitchen, kids' bedrooms, his own studio, and, throughout, a host of striking artwork from his famous contemporaries and friends who used the Soho loft as a meeting point?which all look like they were put in place yesterday, despite the fact that Judd passed away in 1994. Hey, it's also listed on Airbnb, so you could even stay there and pretend to be Judd when no one's watching.
· Official site: 101 Spring Street, NY [Judd Foundation]
· Donald Judd's SoHo Loft Opens After $23 Million Makeover [Bloomberg]
· The Artist's Force Field, Frozen in Time [NYT]
· Inside Donald Judd's Home Studio, Open For Tours in June [Curbed]
· All Donald Judd house coverage [Curbed]
· More Rhyme Time With James Russell [Curbed]