Born Donald Clarence Judd on June 3, 1928 in Excelsior Springs, Missouri, he served in the United States Army from June 1946 until November 1947. Before he transitioned to work in three dimensions, Judd began as a painter and an art critic, having studied philosophy and art history at Columbia University and painting at the Art Students League. He developed his idea of the permanent installation of his work and collections first in New York, at 101 Spring Street, and later in Marfa, Texas. Throughout his lifetime Judd advocated for the importance of art and artistic expression; he regarded land preservation, empirical knowledge, and engaged citizenship as fundamental aspects of society and he wrote extensively on these and other subjects.
The artist died on February 12, 1994 in New York, NY at the age of 65. Along with his two former residences in New York and Marfa, TX, which offer permanent displays of his work, Judd is also represented in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, and the Tate Gallery in London, among other institutions.