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Early Challanges
Rising Opportunites

When David Judelson was a senior at Hillhouse High School in New Haven, Connecticut, Ms. Reama, his guidance counselor, on the basis of the results of a multiple choice aptitude test and a successful academic career, recommended that he study nuclear engineering at MIT, where he had been accepted. Little did he know about what that would entail, but it sounded good. This was in 1959. He was naive.

As a freshman, he discovered that it would take a degree in chemical engineering and a masters in nuclear engineering to fulfill Ms. Reama’s dream for him, and he hated chemistry. Growing up and being exposed to urban renewal and other Yale-based transformations taking place in New Haven, he decided to study architecture, which seemed to have an interesting balance between art and technology.  

The required introductory course was a studio in color and form; David just didn’t get it. He wasn’t the only one: about half of the class that started the course dropped out. There was a project a week for 15 weeks.  David worked his ass off, but he just didn’t get much of what the professor was teaching. In the end, they had a brief meeting where David got a “D” and was told “Judelson, you’ll never make it.” As a result of his excessive attention to the studio course, he got two more “D’s” and two “C’s” that semester, grades the like of which he (or his dismayed parents) had never seen.

But architecture still appealed. He continued to soldier on, his grades improved and he completed the program in 1964(to his parents relief) with a B.Arch degree and accepted a job offer from Fry Drew and Partners, an internationally respected architecture firm in London.

Shortly after arriving in England, (every one else in the firm being engaged in other projects), he was given the responsibility to design a computer center for the Aero Engine Division of Rolls Royce. The building had to be completed in 18 months, a very short amount of time for such a large and technically sophisticated project. Construction started from a couple of freehand drawings and David stayed two days ahead of the contractor through most of the construction - there was no erasing!

As the building was nearing completion, he left FD&P and joined an extraordinary team of architects and planners at the Greater London Council’s Architects Department to work on the design of Thamesmead, a new town for 60,000 people on the river at the eastern border of London.

The process was integrated and comprehensive, essentially with everyone involved with each part of the design, from the development of an industrialized construction system to the design of the transportation system to the budgeting and phasing of the building and occupancy schedule. For David, it was an eye and mind-opening example of (what was possible with) teamwork and creativity.

After two years there, it was time to come back to Boston, where he worked at The Architects Collaborative which was headed by Walter Gropius, founder of the Bauhaus.  David worked on a small team developing an ambitious proposal to transform the process of developing, designing and building affordable housing. Realizing that there was much more to know - and create - he enrolled in the Masters program at MIT in architecture and planning and working with community groups and MIT research project Technology, Race and Poverty, he developed a 97-unit subsidized rehabilitation in the South End of Boston.

During that time, David discovered ceramics, taking an extracurricular introductory course which, one year later, having experienced a passion for what was possible working with clay, he found himself teaching that same introductory course.

With nine other ceramic artists, he founded Clay Dragon Studios where his work evolved from the production of functional clay work to ceramic reliefs, exploring the way that we render in two dimensions what we see in three. All of the abstracted, geometrical images were sourced in architecture; they ultimately came to resemble/have the quality of cubist paintings, which he been intrigued by in an undergraduate art history class.

At the same time, taking what he had learned about housing development and beginning to see himself as a member of the community of artists, he initiated a program at the Artists Foundation to assist groups of artists in gaining control of their studio spaces in the Artists Living and Working Space Project.

This began a multi-year process that ultimately resulted in the creation of ten Boston area artists coops and condominiums, including the renowned 145 unit Brickbottom Artists Building in Somerville, a Boston suburb. David played an integral role in this project, being responsible for the conceptual architectural and financial development plans, acting as the liaison with the architect, and a participant.

David had also done a number of public and private commissions, on buildings, in the pavement, installations in glazed ceramic tile, hand-made bricks, wood, mirrored plastic, water balloons, even in bronze. He began doing collaborations, notably a nine panel screen with painter Ilana Manolson and the sets for “Shadow of a Doubt; a Performance for Five Actors and Four Machines,” with John Bay and Arthur Ganson.

He was the founder and producer of ArtsFeast 83, a ten day arts festival in Boston with 26 exhibitions and 30 performances, to support twelve local and international hunger organizations.

Soon after he began working in series, delving deeper into the intersection of art, design, and architecture—giving himself the freedom to fully and creatively explore ideas which previously had been hidden from discovery. David also began teaching the first-year architectural design course at The City College of New York. He brought with him the attitude that each his students could “make it,” and discover in themselves their own potential for creativity and critical thinking. When one of his former students, asked by an incoming freshman about his experience, he replied, “Judelson is awesome.” And when he retired, his tenure was described as “a 15 year love affair.” In that time, inspired by his students, he wrote a book, “Freedom to Create.” (Lulu)  
In the last few years, David has been producing new work and building a new studio with Sam and a team of apprentices, empowering them in their budding careers as they support him in his daily continuing creative flow and reaching out through new channels to share his work.
David’s current work, operating with the same, but more refined approach to design, ranges from large outdoor spaces and sculptures, working at the intersection of art and architecture to the creation of smaller, humorous and ironic (tongue-in-cheek) “wearable” objects.
He is incredibly grateful to be able to get up each morning and to go to the studio and make new work.

In 1993, he moved to New York;  he was commissioned to design and build a permanent architectural/sculptural, gazebo-like installation on the landscaped roof of the new Scholastic, Inc. Building in SoHo. He curated a show of architecturally influenced art at the Fitchburg Art Museum. He began working in series, giving himself a chance to more deeply explore ideas which previously had been shut off from discovery. He was commissioned to make a 110-foot long, kinetic sculpture, suspended from the ceiling of the new School of Technology at North Carolina State University.

Along with thousands of other artists who were pursuing the goal of having an exhibit in a Soho gallery (this was in 1994), David sent the de rigeur package of slides and resume to several dozen galleries and within a few days received a note from Ivan Karp who ran OK Harris (and who previously, working for Leo Castelli, had discovered Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns), asking to set a studio visit. (This was remarkable because, at that time, gallerists typically never crossed the East River to Brooklyn; it was Manhattan or nothing.)  When Karp showed up one Sunday morning, he walked around the studio, looking with his critical, experienced eye, and coming full circle, he declared, “This kind of talent desires a show.”

ARCHITECT
sculptor
creative & teacher
artistic transitions
evolution of materials

In 1988 his son, Sam, was born and his work began to change.  

He had been offered a show at the gallery at Pine Manor College: he accepted on the condition that what he would exhibit would be nothing like what he had done before, wouldn’t be in clay, and would be totally non-representational. So, about a year after the offer, he delivered 12 new pieces to show, all of them assemblages of common materials, chunks of firewood, bicycle wheels, steel tubes, water, duckweed, etc.  They demonstrated an acute awareness of structure and materiality; bits of irony and humor showed up, hints at functionality, movement and potential future directions.

In 1993, he moved to New York;  he was commissioned to design and build a permanent architectural/sculptural, gazebo-like installation on the landscaped roof of the new Scholastic, Inc. Building in SoHo. He curated a show of architecturally influenced art at the Fitchburg Art Museum. He began working in series, giving himself a chance to more deeply explore ideas which previously had been shut off from discovery. He was commissioned to make a 110-foot long, kinetic sculpture, suspended from the ceiling of the new School of Technology at North Carolina State University.

Along with thousands of other artists who were pursuing the goal of having an exhibit in a Soho gallery (this was in 1994), David sent the de rigeur package of slides and resume to several dozen galleries and within a few days received a note from Ivan Karp who ran OK Harris (and who previously, working for Leo Castelli, had discovered Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns), asking to set a studio visit. (This was remarkable because, at that time, gallerists typically never crossed the East River to Brooklyn; it was Manhattan or nothing.)  When Karp showed up one Sunday morning, he walked around the studio, looking with his critical, experienced eye, and coming full circle, he declared, “This kind of talent desires a show.”

Teaching & Creating together > > >

About David Judelson:

Early CHALLENGES

When David Judelson was a senior at Hillhouse High School in New Haven, Connecticut, Ms. Reama, his guidance counselor, on the basis of the results of a multiple-choice aptitude test and a successful academic career, recommended that he study nuclear engineering at MIT, where he had been accepted. Little did he know about what that would entail, but it sounded good. This was in 1959. He was naive.

As a freshman, he discovered that it would take a degree in chemical engineering and a masters in nuclear engineering to fulfill Ms. Reama’s dream for him, and he hated chemistry. Growing up and being exposed to urban renewal and other Yale-based transformations taking place in New Haven, he decided to study architecture, which seemed to have an interesting balance between art and technology.

The required introductory course was a studio in color and form; David just didn’t get it. He wasn’t the only one: about half of the class that started the course dropped out. There was a project a week for 15 weeks.   David worked his ass off, but he just didn’t get much of what the professor was teaching. In the end, they had a brief meeting where David got a “D” and was told “Judelson, you’ll never make it.” As a result of his excessive attention to the studio course, he got two more “D’s” and two “C’s” that semester, grades the like of which he (or his dismayed parents) had never seen.

Shortly after arriving in England, (every one else in the firm being engaged in other projects), he was given the responsibility to design a computer center for the Aero Engine Division of Rolls Royce. The building had to be completed in 18 months, a very short amount of time for such a large and technically sophisticated project. Construction started from a couple of freehand drawings and David stayed two days ahead of the contractor through most of the construction - there was no erasing!

As the building was nearing completion, he left FD&P and joined an extraordinary team of architects and planners at the Greater London Council’s Architects Department to work on the design of Thamesmead, a new town for 60,000 people on the river at the eastern border of London.

Rising Opportunities

But architecture still appealed. He continued to soldier on, his grades improved and he completed the program in 1964(to his parents relief) with a B.Arch degree and accepted a job offer from Fry Drew and Partners, an internationally respected architecture firm in London.

aRTISTIC tRANSITIONS

During that time, David discovered ceramics, taking an extracurricular introductory course which, one year later, having experienced a passion for what was possible working with clay, he found himself teaching that same introductory course.

The process was integrated and comprehensive, essentially with everyone involved with each part of the design, from the development of an industrialized construction system to the design of the transportation system to the budgeting and phasing of the building and occupancy schedule. For David, it was an eye and mind-opening example of (what was possible with) teamwork and creativity.

After two years there, it was time to come back to Boston, where he worked at The Architects Collaborative which was headed by Walter Gropius, founder of the Bauhaus.  David worked on a small team developing an ambitious proposal to transform the process of developing, designing, and building affordable housing. Realizing that there was much more to know - and create - he enrolled in the Masters program at MIT in architecture and planning and working with community groups and MIT research project Technology, Race and Poverty, he developed a 97-unit subsidized rehabilitation in the South End of Boston.

With nine other ceramic artists, he founded Clay Dragon Studios where his work evolved from the production of functional clay work to ceramic reliefs, exploring the way that we render in two dimensions what we see in three. All of the abstracted, geometrical images were sourced in architecture; they ultimately came to resemble/have the quality of cubist paintings, which he been intrigued by in an undergraduate art history class.

At the same time, taking what he had learned about housing development and beginning to see himself as a member of the community of artists, he initiated a program at the Artists Foundation to assist groups of artists in gaining control of their studio spaces in the Artists Living and Working Space Project.

This began a multi-year process that ultimately resulted in the creation of ten Boston area artists coops and condominiums, including the renowned 145 unit Brickbottom Artists Building in Somerville, a Boston suburb. David played an integral role in this project, being responsible for the conceptual architectural and financial development plans, acting as the liaison with the architect, and a participant.

David had also done a number of public and private commissions, on buildings, in the pavement, installations in glazed ceramic tile, hand-made bricks, wood, mirrored plastic, water balloons, even in bronze. He began doing collaborations, notably a nine panel screen with painter Ilana Manolson and the sets for “Shadow of a Doubt; a Performance for Five Actors and Four Machines,” with John Bay and Arthur Ganson.

Along with thousands of other artists who were pursuing the goal of having an exhibit in a Soho gallery (this was in 1994), David sent the de rigueur package of slides and resume to several dozen galleries and within a few days received a note from Ivan Karp who ran OK Harris (and who previously, working for Leo Castelli, had discovered Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns), asking to set a studio visit. (This was remarkable because, at that time, gallerists typically never crossed the East River to Brooklyn; it was Manhattan or nothing.)  When Karp showed up one Sunday morning, he walked around the studio, looking with his critical, experienced eye, and coming full circle, he declared, “This kind of talent desires a show.”

In the last few years, David has been producing new work and building a new studio with Sam and a team of apprentices, empowering them in their budding careers as they support him in his daily continuing creative flow and reaching out through new channels to share his work.

David’s current work, operating with the same, but more refined approach to design, ranges from large outdoor spaces and sculptures, working at the intersection of art and architecture to the creation of smaller, humorous and ironic (tongue-in-cheek) “wearable” objects.

David’s current work, operating with the same, but more refined approach to design, ranges from large outdoor spaces and sculptures, working at the intersection of art and architecture to the creation of smaller, humorous and ironic (tongue-in-cheek) “wearable” objects.

He was the founder and producer of ArtsFeast 83, a TEN-DAY arts festival in Boston with 26 exhibitions and 30 performances, to support twelve local and international hunger organizations.

Evolution of Materials

1988 his son, Sam, was born and his work began to change.  He had been offered a show at the gallery at Pine Manor College: he accepted on the condition that what he would exhibit would be nothing like what he had done before, wouldn’t be in clay, and would be totally non-representational.

He is incredibly grateful to be able to get up each morning and to go to the studio and make new work.

So, about a year after the offer, he delivered 12 new pieces to show, all of the assemblages of common materials, chunks of firewood, bicycle wheels, steel tubes, water, duckweed, etc.  They demonstrated an acute awareness of structure and materiality; bits of irony and humor showed up, hints at functionality, movement, and potential future directions.

In 1993, he moved to New York; he was commissioned to design and build a permanent architectural/sculptural, gazebo-like installation on the landscaped roof of the new Scholastic, Inc. Building in SoHo. He curated a show of architecturally influenced art at the Fitchburg Art Museum.  He began working in series, giving himself a chance to more deeply explore ideas that previously had been shut off from discovery. He was commissioned to make a 110-foot long, kinetic sculpture, suspended from the ceiling of the new School of Technology at North Carolina State University.

David also began teaching the first-year architectural design course at The City College of New York. He brought with him the attitude that each his students could “make it,” and discover in themselves their own potential for creativity and critical thinking. When one of his former students, asked by an incoming freshman about his experience, he replied, “Judelson is awesome.” And when he retired, his tenure was described as “a 15 year love affair.” In that time, inspired by his students, he wrote a book, “Freedom to Create.” (Lulu)  

teaching & creating together

Soon after he began working in series, delving deeper into the intersection of art, design, and architecture—giving himself the freedom to fully and creatively explore ideas that previously had been hidden from discovery.

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Damien Dziepak
September 4, 2022
I was wondering what value range it may have
I love the details of spheres and the nod to Davinci

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