Thank You For Your Silver Service, Donald Judd X Puiforcat

four of the eight sterling silver pieces in the Donald Judd dinner service, by Puiforcat

Saw the Donald Judd X Puiforcat silver dinnerware again on wildoute’s tumblr this morning and was reminded I’m apparently not living in a way that it will effortlessly cross my path. I will have to seek it out at the Hermès store [or the Judd Foundation?]

Donald Judd dinnerware, with other Puiforcat photobomb, at 101 Spring, from tiktok/graciewiener

Technically it dropped last spring. From this hilarious tiktokker [“also the building’s beautiful”] and the Vogue piece, it looks like the embargo for the fashion/influencer reveal at 101 Spring lifted on May 15th. But it kept getting announced/discovered through the fall. And the making of video on Puiforcat’s own page for the collection is only a month old. Anyway, I think you can no longer use the excuse that it wasn’t available.

Imagine it’s 1989, you’re at your porcelain factory in Limoges, and this comes through your fax machine. image via juddfoundation

Only the Judd Foundation’s version of the origin story mentions Judd’s 1989 invitation by Artes Magnus, a collector-run artist design venture, to create porcelain objects, to be produced in Limoges in small editions. [The most famous example from the project is Cindy Sherman’s Madame Pompadour soup tureen. The sleekest is probably the Dan Flavin bowls which reflected color on the table from their painted undersides.] Judd conceived of eleven pieces of tableware. There was a brochure for an 80-piece, 12-place dinner service, in one of four colors, each in an edition of 50. There were plates in an Artes Magnus exhibition at the Newark Museum in 1994, after Judd’s death.

detail of rejected prototypes for Donald Judd’s Artes Magnus dinnerware set, via juddfoundation

But the Foundation said Judd rejected the prototypes, had technical drawings made by Berenstein Brothers, his metal fabricators, and then left it.

“Saladier en argent massif de la collection Dinner Service par Donald Judd” via puiforcat

Until the Puiforcat folks, feeling newly confident about their crisp cylindrical silversmithing skillz, “seduced” Judd’s son Flavin with their own attempts at interpreting the artist’s designs from 25mm thick sheets of silver. [Talk about argent massif; do you perhaps mean 2.5mm, World of Interiors?]

His first question upon entering a store was, “Do you ship?” Amie Siegel discussing Donald Judd’s interest in design objects, furniture, and architecture, at her Dia Artist on Artist talk in 2016

And no one except Amie Siegel has mentioned Judd collected design objects “obsessively, even promiscuously,” including dishware. In her 2016 artist talk at Dia, Siegel tells of Judd in Mexico or Italy, buying dozens of pieces pottery at a time, to kit out all his buildings.

screenshot of Amie Siegel’s Artist on Artist talk at Dia, discussing Donald Judd’s furniture and design, and mentioning his demitasse set, which I think is in the middle of the grid

And she focuses on the bank building in Marfa, site of his architecture practice, which includes not only his prototype dishes [presumably for Artes Magnus], but a Judd-designed demitasse set. I can find no other mention of this anywhere. Perhaps it was part of his Artes Magnus set? As Siegel concludes, the objects Judd designed take on everything in the space around them. [Even more so if they’re mirror-finished silver, I guess.] But the objects he collected, displayed, and studied “also take on him.”

Cooking with Don, 1984: image from Donald Judd Spaces by Doris Lehni-Quarella/©Antonio Monaci via Curbed

And as much as I want the silver—I am available for seducing, Puiforcat, C-A-L-L-M-E—my favorite Judd tablescape has to be this one, published in the Donald Judd Spaces book by the Foundation last spring. Don is posing proudly in his kitchen, with a library table covered in Good Design, all pleasingly mismatched. It’s like he’s showing off his shopping haul from a recent trip, or maybe he’s about to host a cooking show. The tiktoks that might have been.

[April 2024 update: I have heard from someone who attended the launch of the silver during Paris+ that it is so scratchable, the Puiforcat folks—at the silverware company of the kings of France—recommend using wooden utensils. Amazing.]