Judith G. Levy
Sense of Place at The Elmhurst Art Museum
I am very pleased to have work included in this exhibition, and I attended the opening on Dec. 9, 2016.
Pleiades, A Journal of New Writing
Eight of the posters from my Family Memoir were published in the winter edition of this distinguished journal and the amazing poet, Hazara Bar-Nadav wrote a wonderful introduction to my work.
Millay Colony
I was very happy to have been selected to attend the Millay Colony artist residency in September, 2015
Review in The Pitch newspaper, May 19, 2015, of my installation, "Family Memoir", and my Panoramic Postcard, "Sappho Beach".

Disturbances in the Field
Through June 13 at La Esquina, 1000 West 25th Street, charlottestreet.org

Judith G. Levy has for a while now centered her art on uproarious fictions, rendered in believably deadpan ways. But for her new "Family Memoir" series — part of La Esquina's latest group exhibition, Disturbances in the Field — she has hewed closer to reality. A reality still bent by the habits of storytelling, particularly the intimate storytelling native to families.

Stories passed down by relatives — or evolved from generations of guesswork based on vaguely captioned family albums — can be touchingly mundane. Your grandparents' first new car was an non-air-conditioned Chevy. But family trees also cast long shadows, obscuring in shame, say, the cousin who died young for reasons that go untalked about. In "Family Memoir," Levy presents a range of such tales, fragments from a reconstructed past (her own family's, she says) that spans approximately the very late 1800s to the early 1970s. The series of 36 small black-and-white posters, using reproductions of snapshots, dominates the gallery's front wall.

Levy's work is the first thing visible at this show, guiding you into the space with hand-lettered punch lines. The words are amusingly, sometimes poignantly reductive conclusions or descriptions of various relatives, first on photo-free yard signs staked around the parking lot of the gallery, then on the posters inside. The phrases outside include "Failed in Hollywood," "Enjoyed Family Life," "Wasn't Jewish" and "Became a Magician." They could as easily be epitaphs on headstones, reminding how someone's whole lifetime is often reduced in a family's collective memory to a single episode or trait. The sum of such recollections is how you learn your family history, piecemeal and with oddly accented, sometimes very flawed emphasis.

Straightforward but not linear, just like real family memories, Levy's grid of scrapbook photos, and their "one thing" about the people in them, lets your glance jump around and draw connections between times and themes. It is akin to our own experience of family and memory, and therefore vivid, giving us plenty to think about when it comes to identity and acceptance.

Other works in this show summon a similar power to disturb, in a wide variety of ways: Scott Dickson's inlaid photographic prints have an immediate impact, whereas the highly conceptual "Your Lupines or Your Life," by Hannah Jickling and Helen Reed, require that you read the provided materials. Sarah Lewison's "Arctic Glitch" can be appreciated even if you don't absorb the contextual writing. And Leo Esquivel's two gouache drawings — depicting antique furniture sprouting plant life — are peacefully whimsical, a fairytalelike "disturbance in the field."

Curator Lacey Wozny has also given us an opportunity to see another of Levy's works, the latest in her panoramic postcard series. Another take on the idea of constructed history, the wittily rendered, pseudo-vintage scene this time takes place at fictional Sappho Beach, in equally apocryphal Glory, Kansas. Surely such a feminist enclave would disturb Gov. Sam Brownback — and anyone else who lacks a sense of humor.
Art Omi International Artist Residency
I was so happy to have been awarded a residency at Art Omi and attended the summer residency for visual artists during June/July 2014.
Memory Cloud, Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester, NY
My installation, Memory Cloud, in the Memory Theater exhibition currently on view at Memorial Art Gallery inspired a composer to create Marimba music about memory. The music was played under the hanging installation in November 2013.
review of The Last Descendants in The Kansas City Star


CLIMBING A FICTIONAL FAMILY TREE

Artist Judith Levy’'s 'documentaries' delve into the genealogies of some well-known names.

By DANA SELF
THE KANSAS CITY STAR, OCTOBER 13, 2011

The personal is always political, and history is not a series of fixed moments in time, but rather perspectives and truths that shift depending on who tells the story.
Lawrence-based artist Judith Levy excavates the past and reconstructs it through her fictional historical documentaries. She stitches together social, political and economic realities of the times in which fictional characters lived and how those histories shape us.
In her faux documentary film series "The Last Descendants, " Levy interviews the imaginary last relatives of the Lone Ranger, Huckleberry Finn, and Hansel and Gretel.
Levy constructs elaborate family trees that map immigration patterns, slavery, and American social, cultural and racial developments. These family trees, which are central to the exhibition, help establish her characters' invented lives.
Huck Finn's ersatz familial history reveals that his mother was black, his traveling companion Jim was his half brother, and Huck himself was the product of rape. This family tree cleaves wide open the painful realities of American slavery and its potent aftermath.
Levy interviews Faye Finn-Cohen and her two sons in "Huckleberry Finn." Among issues of paternity and racism, they discuss not getting invited to the "white" side of the Finn family reunions. They ruefully ponder how the "black side of the Finn family really wanted to do it, " but the white side did not. "I really want that Finn Family Fun T-shirt, " quips one of the sons, ironically.
The interview telegraphs an uncomfortable reality about a fictional family that mirrors concrete issues.
In "Hansel & Gretel, " the last descendants are siblings portrayed by sculptor John Hachmeister and his wife, Diane. As if they were siblings, they fractiously interrupt each other and quibble throughout the interview about whether Hansel or Gretel saved the pair from their forest misadventure, who in the family tree might have been a Nazi collaborator and other familial secrets.
Toward the end Levy raises a question about jewels the Grimm brothers were said to have paid Hansel and Gretel's father for "exclusive rights" to their story. Levy cleverly folds contemporary journalistic sensationalism into the story.
In "The Lone Ranger, " Levy speculates about the Lone Ranger's sexuality and his relationship with Tonto. That she makes the Lone Ranger a descendant of Turkish Sephardic Jews allows Levy to "challenge conventional notions of heroes, " according to her email exchange.
An assortment of bogus Lone Ranger family heirlooms rounds out the exhibition. Displayed in a glass case, period pocket watches, spectacles, a ring that was a "gift from Tonto" and other mementos make up the collection.
Viewing these carefully labeled items, it's easy to forget that it's all an elaborate and skillfully deployed invention.
By paradoxically fictionalizing characters to unpack and examine history, Levy expands a dialogue about how we understand history's various truths and how they all may be interpreted differently and discontinuously over time.
"The Last Descendants" is a complex, multilayered, narrative exhibition exquisitely crafted and acted by Levy.

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essay by Kris Ercums, Curator of Global Contemporary and Asian Art,
Judith Levy’s The Last Descendants, solo exhibition, Paragraph Gallery,
September 16 - November 5, 2011

In her recent series The Last Descendant Judith Levy charts the rich complexity of an individual through meticulously drawn “family trees” that outline in startling detail the lineage of noted fictional personalities: Huck Finn; Hansel and Gretel; and most recently, the Lone Ranger. Each document is paired with a dramatized video interview with the “living descendants” of these mythic characters. The use of documentary evidence intentionally staged as “proof” for family heritage is part of an overall strategy by Levy to re-imagine history. Deploying a wide range of research methods from rummaging through junk stores for just-the-right photo to reading broadly on the major issues that have shaped society like war and disease, Levy blurs the distinction between the grand narrative of historical fact and a fictionalized, highly personal imagining of the individual. In this way Levy takes advantage of Voltaire’s observation that history “consists of a series of accumulated imaginative inventions.”

Through this work Levy confronts major issues like migration, race and sexuality that are at the heart of contemporary American identity. By recasting cultural memory through the personal lineage of iconic, albeit entirely fictional characters, Levy preys on our naïveté of American popular culture—“Huck Finn was Jewish?” By suspending belief, Levy is able probe issues important to her. This broad lens brings into focus the monumental complexity of human interaction that goes into the construction of each personal narrative. It also distorts broader perceptions of reality and imagination. Tackling romantic notions like “America the Melting Pot,” these poignant investigations bring to the foreground monumental forces like religion, ethnic background and sexual desire that shape identity.

However, mythology often warns us against looking back—think of Lot’s wife turned to salt. And great writers like Marcel Proust recall how disappointing memory can be, as it never truly restores the past. Scientists who work on memory, also call into question the pure form of remembering that we often times idealize. Rather, current research suggests that we only recall our past in a fragmented, discontinuous way. Memory is not archived as a whole, but exists as a highly selective and constantly changing phenomenon. This subjectivity, the imaginative potential embedded in memory, is at the core of Levy’s The Last Descendants. While seemingly whole and complete, each “fact” is a carefully poised fragment, a carefully constructed “lie” that challenges “truth” as something ultimately subjective and constructed. Thus, the series is far from a Proustian attempt to grasp at the past—that fleeting and unattainable taste of a Madeleine cookie—but instead the work is an elegiac journey through the workings of individual imagination.


Kris Imants Ercums
Curator of Global Contempoary and Asian Art
Spencer Museum of Art

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Andy Warhol Foundation Rocket Grant
June, 2011
I am very happy about having just been awarded a Rocket Grant, and I thank The Charlotte Street Foundation, The Spencer Museum and The Andy Warhol Foundation. I will be creating a video project: NV in KC. Please read about the Rocket Grant on the site below.

http://rocketgrants.wordpress.com/rocket-grants-projects/the-projects-2011-2012/

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Artist Corps exhibiton, America: Here and Now
In May, 2011, my Panoramic Postcards were exhibited as part of America: Here and Now. I was included in the Artist Corps exhibition in Kansas City.

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The Dining Room
March, 2011
I am currently showing, You Never Dine Alone, a video/installation piece at The Epsten Gallery in Kansas City. This work is part of a group show, The Dining Room. Please take a look at this work in my Installation section of this website.

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I'm featured in KC Artists Link blog
March, 2011
check out this website: http://www.kcartistlink.org/kc_artscape/meet_our_artists/

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Panoramic Postcards: a window installation
October 2010 - October 2011
I was recently awarded a commission to create four Panoramic Postcards for the City Center Square post office window. You can see images of this work in the portfolio section under Installations and Public Art.
This work was installed in October, 2010 and will be up for approximately one year.
The installation is located on 12th between Main and Baltimore in Kansas City.

http://www.charlottestreet.org/2010/10/judith-g-levys-panoramic-postcards-commissioned-window-installation-debuts-at-city-center-square-artist-to-disctibute-free-postcards-october-18-20/

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Art critic, Lori Waxman, reviewed my work
April, 2010
http://www.charlottestreet.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/10-judith-g-levy.pdf

Take a look at Lori Waxman's review of my work. She created this review, along with many others, during her performance piece: 60 WRD/MIN art critic.

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IMA's Artbabble interview just posted
I hope you will take a look at this interview on the Indianapolis Museum's website Artbabble that was produced by The Nugget Factory.

http://www.artbabble.org/video/judith-g-levy

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MEMORY CLOUD at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, artist reception and preview
Judith G. Levy: Memory Cloud
July 10, 2009 - January 17, 2010
Efroymson Family Entrance Pavilion

Artist Reception & Preview
Thursday, July 9 / 5:30-7:30 pm / FREE
Complimentary light hors d'oeuvres and cash bar

Judith G. Levy's art deals with themes of memory, exploring the fleeting nature of individual experience, the similarities and differences between collective and personal acts of remembering, and how memories can be explicit or elusive. The installation will be comprised of a monumental "cloud" made from white plastic photo viewers that hang on strands of microfilament. The viewers are designed to be held up to the light to reveal an image inside. Each of the plastic viewers will contain a unique photograph, drawn from a collection of thousands of found 35mm slides that the artist has collected over the years throughout the Midwest. These photographs capture people posing for family snapshots, attending holiday events, working, enjoying vacations, or simply observing the world around them. In some areas, these viewers will be hung out of reach - suggesting a metaphor for experiences or memories that can not be retrieved - while in other areas they will be hung at a height that is accessible to visitors.

Levy is an artist based in Kansas, who until recently lived and worked in Indianapolis. Her work incorporates a variety of mediums, including drawing, sculpture, video and performance. Levy's installation in the Efroymson Family Pavilion will be her first major solo museum exhibition, and will feature a work specially commissioned for the IMA.

Support provided by a grant from The Efroymson Family Fund, A CICF Fund.

Selected image from Judith G. Levy's Memory Cloud, photograph courtesy of artist.

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Upcoming: INSTALLATION FOR THE INDIANAPOLIS MUSEUM OF ART
I am very pleased to announce that I have been commissioned to create an installation for the Efroymson Pavilion at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. I will be making a very large MEMORY CLOUD that is comprised of over a thousand plastic viewers, each filled with an unique image. The installation invites museum guests to look at the images in the plastic viewers and make associations to their own memories. This work celebrates the Midwest and captures the poignancy of our efforts to create a memory via a photograph. The work is about the explicit and elusive nature of remembering, and therefore some of the images are accessible while other are not. The images come from my collection of 35mm slides from the '50's, 60's and 70's. My hope is that guests will have both a personal and communal experience as they are reminded of experiences in their own lives.

The preview opening for this exhibition is July 9, 2009 and the public opening is on July 10th. Here is a link to the press release: http://www.imamuseum.org/explore/exhibitions/Judy_Levy

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Creative Renewal Fellows Exhibition
I will be showing two videos, each accompanied by a family tree, at the Creative Renewal Fellows Exhibition at the Indianapolis Art Center, in Indianapolis, Indiana. The exhibition opens on Friday, May 8th at 6 p.m. The videos are part of a series called The Last Descendants, and each video features an interview with descendants of famous people.

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Hansel and Gretel Exhibition, Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art at the Central Library, Indianapolis
I currently have work on exhibition in a group show, hosted by the Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art at the Central Library in Indianapolis. The exhibition is up until January 2009.
I made a video that is titled:
Hansel and Gretel: The Last Descendants
and it is accompanied by a large family tree of the Hansel and Gretel Hachmeister family, that traces Hansel and Gretel's family from the mid 1700s in Kassel, Germany to present day Oskaloosa, Kansas.

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Review of: How We Remember: Images Found and Made
Here's a review from NUVO, August 13, 2008. Please go to this link.

http://www.nuvo.net/articles/how_we_remember__images_found_and_made_/

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Solo Exhibition: How We Remember: Images Found and Made
I am having a solo exhibition of new work at BigCar Gallery, in Indianapolis. The opening/reception is Friday, August 1, 2008 starting at 6 PM. Please check out http://www.bigcar.org

Hope you can make it.

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On Procession, at the Indianapolis Museum of Art
Recent installation/performance work by the artist team, Silevy, was selected for the On Processsion exhibiton at the Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art:www.imamuseum.org. Our work was inspired by Walter Lippmann's chapter "The World Outside and the Pictures in our Heads", from his book "On Politic".

On Procession

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Girls Brigade, Solo Exhibition, http://soovac.org/ps_07_levy.php
You are invited to an an artist reception on Friday, September 28, 2008 at The Soo Visual Arts Center in Minneapolis, www.soovac.org. This exhibit will be my first solo show in Minneapolis. FriendsWithYou will also have their first solo show in Minneapolis at this gallery then too.

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Great Ideas Competition Public Art Finalist
I am a finalist in the Great Ideas Competition in Indianapolis. I have formed an artists team, Silevy, to design "Boatload of Knowledge", an installation inspired by the visionaries of New Harmony, Indiana.

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Lilly Endowment Creative Renewal Grant
I was awarded a Lilly Endowment Creative Renewal Grant in the Spring of 2007. This grant is administered by The Arts Council of Indianapolis. The grant period runs from July '07 through December '08. As part of my proposal, I travelled to Poland and Germany in October. Please see work supported by this grant on my website and at Big Car Gallery, www.bigcar.org

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Girls Brigade
NavtaSchulz Gallery

April 13 - May 26, 2007
Opening reception April 13, 6pm - 9pm

from the NavtaSchulz Gallery press release:
Girls Brigade figures are hooded archetypes, whose outfits are historical references to groups whose ideologies provoked oppression and violence. Levy’s Girls suggest parallels in modern socio/political life. She invented a children’s army with accompanying history and heraldic-like flags so that she could poke a little fun at how history is presented and also get a chance to guess about how some history is unknown or untold. She depicts her Girls as both covered and uncovered as a way to indicate their duality as victims and aggressors.

The Girls’ depersonalized condom/Klan/Casper outfits are intended by the artist to capture salient aspects of American culture, as well as Levy’s interest in how clothing provides both access and restriction to power.

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Raid
Midway Contemporary Art

April 28, 2007

Art auction and dance party to benefit the not-for-profit Midway Contemporary Art. Augusto Arbizo, Carter, Chris Deo, Matias Faldbakken, Michelle Grabner, Dan Graham, Adler Guerrier, Guyton/Walker, Jay Heikes, Adam Helms, Nate Hylden, Chris Larson, Judith G. Levy, Janet Lobberecht, Nate Lowman, Todd Norsten, Mia Pealman, Anthony Pearson, Adam Pendleton, Michael Queenland, David Rathman, Mika Rottenberg, Gedi Sibony, Josh Smith, Angela Strassheim, Cameron Wittig, Jordan Wolfson, Aaron Young.

Limited edition by
Santiago Cucullu

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