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1968: Then and Now

Nathan Cummings Foundation
475 Tenth Avenue, 14th Floor, 212-7876-7300 ext. 206
Hell's Kitchen
September 26 - November 20, 2008
Reception: Friday, September 26, 6 - 9 PM
Web Site

Work by more than 50 artists will be shown in this exhibit (in two locations), including sixteen Builder Levy gold-toned gelatin silver print photographs. Levy has indicated that a number of his photographs in this exhibition have never before been seen publicly—never even printed before. In preparing to submit work for consideration to the invitational exhibition’s curator, Deborah Willis, (MacArthur Foundation Fellow, prolific author, and Chair of the Photography & Digital Imaging Department at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts) Levy reviewed his old contact sheets of demonstrations in the 1960s. For this show’s theme, he focused on the Martin Luther King Memorial March for Union Justice and to End Racism in Memphis, Tennessee, 1968, King’s Funeral in Atlanta, Georgia, and a major New York City Peace March to End the War in Vietnam, which included the Harlem Peace March on April 27, 1967. Using digital scanning technology, he was able to discover some important photographs that he had overlooked in earlier years.

1968: Then and Now explores an era when a multitude of social movements climaxed in discontent with political order, particularly in the United States, that was rooted in domestic racial inequality and imperialist foreign policy. It also serves as a reflection on the presence of the memory of that period in our hearts and minds 40 years later. Among the other artists in the exhibit with Levy are Emma Amos, Bruce Davidson, Juan Sanchez, Jamel Shabazz and Hank Thomas Willis. For images etc.

For more than four decades, Buider Levy has been making (gelatin silver print) photographs, intertwining social documentary, street and art photography. He has photographed in New York City’s inner city communities where he was a New York City teacher of at-risk adolescents for 35 years, civil rights and peace demonstrations in the 1960s and the new millennium, life in the Appalachian coalfields, Mongolia, Cuba, and other developing nations including Venezuela, Brazil, Ecuador and Peru.

In addition to numerous other grants, Levy received a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship this year ( 2008) to complete forty years of work on photographing coalfield Appalachia. An exhibition of his work, Appalachia USA, will be shown at the Doris Ulmann Galleries, the art museum at Berea College, in Kentucky, in October and November 2008. He will also exhibit his Appalachian work at the Parkersburg Art Center in West Virginia, in November 2008.

His work is included in the current exhibition Road to Freedom: Photographs of the Civil Rights Movement, 1956-1968 (and the accompanying eponymous catalogue) at the High Museum of Art: June-October 2008. An audio interview with Levy can be heard on the Museum’s website. The show will travel to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in November 2008.

In 2009 Levy will be exhibiting at the Crow Collection of Asian Art in Dallas Texas: Mongolia: Beyond Chinggis Kahn (a show originated at the Rubin Museum of Art in NYC (shown 2006-2007).

Levy has exhibited his photographs in 50 one-person shows and almost three times that number of group exhibitions throughout the United States and around the world.

His work is in numerous museum collections and featured in numerous books and periodicals worldwide. In the1960s Levy’s photographs were used on 4 front covers and 1 back cover of of Freedomways, a quarterly journal of the Freedom Movement. Among other books in which he has work featured is Phaidon’s Freedom a Photographic History of the African American Struggle, with essays captions by Manning Maribel and Leith Mullings.

Levy’s two books are Images of Appalachian Coalfields with a foreword by Cornell Capa, and most recently, Builder Levy Photographer with an introduction by noted photo historian Naomi Rosenblum. For more info on Levy contact him at [email protected], and/or visit his website at
Have photos of this show? Tag them with artcal-7986 to see them here.