Just Browsing: Inside Donald Judd's Library

Just Browsing: Inside Donald Judd's Library

Ronee Saroff
May 21, 2010

Devotees of minimalism have flocked to the Marfa, Texas home of Donald Judd since his death in 1994. Thanks to the Donald Judd Foundation, you can now browse the artist's vast personal library from the comfort of your own living room.

According to Barbara Hunt McLanahan, executive director of the Foundation, Judd had "an insatiable appetite for books, beyond even what he was able to read himself." The library consists of over 13,000 books, which Judd meticulously arranged and catalogued himself. The shelves also feature small curiosities collected from the his travels, such as a pack of nude Danish playing cards, snake skeletons, magnifying glasses and tons of rocks.

As an artist who held strong views about how his work should be presented, one wonders how Judd would have reacted to the new web site, which allows users to browse through all 576 shelves and zero in on clusters of books for a glimpse of Judd's personal archival logic. One can even zoom in on the books themselves and get their title, date, author, and Dewey Decimal number.

Bibliophiles aren't always minimalists, but both the library and the site reflect Judd's disdain for gratuitous ornamentation. Stripped down to its most essential elements, the site presents Judd's library not as a fetishistic representation of learnedness, but as a democratic tool for constructing real knowledge.

To tour the library and learn more about Donald Judd's life and work, visit the Donald Judd Foundation.

Image: Hester and Hardaway

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