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120 Main Street, Upton MA 01568-6193

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Last updated: 1/25/2017
Home / Gallery Tour 1 / Womanshow / Gallery Tour 2 / Artists

Judy Pfaff (American, b. London, 1946)

Jennifer Bartlett, Lynda Benglis, Louise Bourgeois, Jonna Rae Brinkman, Louisa Chase, Chryssa / Sue Coe, Susan Crile,
Lesley Dill, Helen Frankenthaler, Jane Freilicher, Nancy Graves, Harmony Hammond, Judy Chicago,
Anita Jung, Elaine de Kooning, Joyce Kozloff, Lee Krasner, Karen Kunc, Ellen Lanyon, Georgia Marsh, Suzanne McClelland,
Phyllis McGibbon, Joan Mitchell, Elizabeth Murray, Judith Murray, Louise Nevelson, Judy Pfaff,
Jaune Quick-to-see Smith, Joan Root, Susan Rothenberg, Betye Saar, Niki de St. Phalle, Hollis Sigler, Kiki Smith,
Joan Snyder, Pat Steir, May Stevens, Dorothea Tanning, and Emmi Whitehorse
Judy Pfaff was born in London in 1946 and later settled in America at the age of thirteen. She received her B.F.A. from Washington University and her M.F.A. from Yale University. Her innovative work has brought her wide acclaim from galleries and museums throughout the United States, Europe, and the Far East. Her work can be found in such prestigious collections as The Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; The Brooklyn Museum of Art; the Detroit Institute of Art; the St. Louis Museum of Art; the Philadelphia Museum of Art; and the Stadtische Kunsthalle, Mannheim Museum, Germany.

From the beginning of her career in the 1970s, Judy Pfaff has worked with a wide and unusual range of materials and moves back and forth easily between two and three-dimensional work, creating art that is complex, profuse and unique.  These dynamic, exuberant, large-scale works incorporate many different media.  While primarily a sculptor, her concepts are expressed in equal power in her prints.  Her work in sculpture, paint, and graphics, has been shown internationally and is in many important collections including the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum in New York City, The Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Detroit Institute of Art, and the Chasen Museum of Art of the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She has also received important grants in recognition of her work including grants from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1979 and 1985 and a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1983. Judy Pfaff represented the United States at the 1998 Sao Paulo Bienal. In 2004, Pfaff was named a MacArthur Fellow. In 2013 she was electedd into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2014, she was given a Lifetime Achievement Award by the International Sculpture Center.

A common theme in her work is the relationship of the natural world to the creations of humankind and to the societies that value those artistic creations. Her work features both natural and constructed objects while stylistically reminding viewers of various artistic movements including Abstraction, Cubism, and Surrealism. She has been described as a "collagist in space."

Bibliography: Irving Sandler, Judy Pfaff (NY: Hudson Hills Press, 2003) has an extensive bibliography on pages 131-140. Judy Pfaff was invited to do an installation for the Rose Museum at Brandeis University in January 1995. The installation, titled Elephant, which spread over two stories of the museum, floor to ceiling, was documented in an illustrated brochure by Carl Belz, then the Director of the Museum. Pfaff was featured on the front cover of the May 1981 issue of ARTnews (story on pages 79-80) on the occasion of a mixed-media installation at the Whitney Biennial and illustrated with photographs of a floor-to-ceiling installation at the Hirshhorn Museum in 1980-81. Pfaff was invited to exhibit her work at he 1982 Venice Biennal. Pfaff's work was featured in an floor to ceiling exhibition at the Elvejhem Museum of Art (now the Chasen Museum of Art) at the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 2001. Sandler gives a list of her exhibitions on pages 121-129. Pfaff was featured in a segment entitled Romance on Season 4 of the PBS Series Art 21: Art of the Twenty-first Century.
WU FU WU. Original etching on Japanese Kozo paper with hand-colored opalescence, 1995. Edition: 120 signed impressions printed at the Tandem Press of the University of Wisconsin-Madison for the Madison Print Club (whose members include the Chasen Museum of Art at the University of Wisconsin, Madison and the Madison Museum of Contempoorary Art) plus 20 artists proofs. Signed "J. Pfaff '95" lower right and "ed 120 lower left." Image size: 260x720mm (10-1/8x27-1/2 inches). Price: $2500.

Spaightwood Galleries, Inc.

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