Judy Pfaff, FA71

*New York*

Judy Pfaff is one of the most celebrated artists of her generation, known for crafting large-scale installations that combine local materials with elements of painting, sculpture and architecture.

Born in London, Pfaff moved to the United States at the age of 13 and studied in Michigan and Illinois before receiving her BFA degree from Washington University in 1971. Two years later she earned an MFA degree from Yale University and also staged her first solo exhibition, at the Razor Gallery in New York. In the years since she has mounted more than 100 one-person shows and installations and participated in more than 200 group exhibitions.

Though Pfaff has called herself a “dyed-in-the-wool abstractionist,” she frequently draws imagery and inspiration from the physical world: the way light falls, the branches of a tree, the intricate patterns of antique lace doilies. Working largely on-site, she incorporates both found and fabricated elements — ranging from steel, fiberglass and driftwood to vines, blown glass and neon-colored string — to create dizzyingly elaborate structures.

Today Pfaff’s work can be found in such prestigious collections as the Detroit Institute of Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and New York’s Museum of Modern Art and Whitney Museum of American Art. Her numerous awards include a 2004 MacArthur “genius” Fellowship as well as grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation and many others.

Pfaff currently serves as both the Richard B. Fisher Professor in the Arts and the Milton Avery Distinguished Professor of Art at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, where she also co-directs the Studio Arts Program.