AAP Magazine #7 - Wild

Builder Levy

American Photographer

New Yorker Builder Levy has been photographing America and her inhabitants for the past 50 years. His social consciousness took him to significant areas of our country during tumultuous times. His commitment to aesthetically [or artistically] documenting the world around him earned him the prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship in 2008. Levy's work is in more than 50 public collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum, High Museum of Art, International Center of Photography, Victoria and Albert Museum, and La Bibliotheque Nationale. He is also the author of two published photographic books.

Source: Arnika Dawkins Gallery


Intertwining social documentary, art and street photography, Builder Levy has been making photographs as objects of art that celebrate the human spirit for almost fifty years. He was awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship (’08), an Alicia Patterson Foundation Fellowship (‘04), a Furthermore Grant (‘03), Puffin Foundation Grant (‘01), and National Endowment for the Arts Visual Artists Fellowship in Photography (‘82), and two commissions from the Appalachian College Association (’95 and ‘02).

Levy’s two books are Images of Appalachian Coalfields, Temple Univ. Press, with a foreword by Cornell Capa, and Builder Levy Photographer, A.R.T. Press, with an introduction by noted photo historian Naomi Rosenblum. Levy has exhibited in more than 200 shows, including more than 50 one-person exhibitions in New York City, throughout the United States and around the world. In the Fall 2011, he is included in the exhibits Coal + Ice, curated by Susan Meiselas & Jeroen de Vries, a project of the Asia Society, at the Three Shadows Art Centre in Beijing; Posing Beauty, curated by Deborah Willis at Fisher Museum of Art, USC, Los Angeles (9/11-12/11); Photo Folio at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (10/11-1/12); at the Arnika Dawkins Gallery (Black & White and Color), (with 13 photographs) (10/1-10/29/11) in conjunction with Atlanta Celebrates Photography; and Mirrors and Reflections: A Group Show, curated by Evelyne Z. Daitz with co-curator Alison Bradley at the Robert Anderson Gallery at 24 West 57th Street, New York (11/17/11-1/7/12) The High Museum of Art included Levy’s photographs in the historic exhibition, Road to Freedom: Photographs of the Civil Rights Movement, 1956-1968 (and the accompanying eponymous book/catalogue), curated by Julian Cox. It opened at the High Museum of Art in 2008, and traveled for two years to museums in D.C., Chicago, Los Angeles and New York City. The Rubin Museum of Art in NYC featured 14 of Levy’s photographs in the show Mongolia: Beyond Chinggis Khan, 11/06-4/07.

Levy’s work is in more than 50 public collections in the US and around the world, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum, High Museum of Art, International Center of Photography, Victoria and Albert Museum, and La Bibliotheque Nationale. His photographs are featured in more than 25 books including, Harlem, A Century in Images, Studio Museum of Harlem, Skira/Rizzoli 2010, Freedom, Phaidon Press, 100 New York Photographers, Schiffer Press ‘09, Deborah Willis’ Posing Beauty, Norton Press, ‘09, Coal Country, Sierra Club Books, ’09, and Road To Freedom: Photographs of the Civil Rights Movement, 1956-1968. He was the featured artist (with 22 photos) in Appalachian Heritage, (Spring 2010). His subjects include inner-city New York City where he was a NYC teacher of at-risk adolescents for 35 years; coalfield Appalachia (spanning more than 40 years), civil rights and peace demonstrations (in the 1960s), Mongolia and other developing nations. He is completing a new book, Appalachia USA.

Source: builderlevy.com

Appalachia USA: Photographs, 1968-2009
Author: Builder Levy
Publisher: David R Godine
Year: 2013 - Pages: 128
Despite the promise of alternative energy, coal still fuels most of our power plants and steel mills. The story of its extraction, and of the people who live, work, and endure in West Virginia, Southwestern Virginia, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania, has been a source of fascination bordering on obsession for the photographer Builder Levy. For four decades, he has been witness to a dangerous industry where workers operate heavy machinery in close quarters underground, extracting ever-increasing tonnage of coal. Over the last two decades, at surface mines, Levy has seen powerful explosives tear apart mountain summits, followed by giant draglines that scoop out the exposed veins of coal in massive, destructive, quantities. He has also witnessed strikes and picket lines, desperation and rage, hope and dignity, and the inevitable natural and man-made disasters that are part of the territory.
 
Builder Levy: Photographer
Author: Builder Levy
Publisher: A.R.T. Pr
Year: 2005 - Pages: 168
The photographs in this book invite us to experience real lives as real people live them, while at the same time enjoying the beauty of the photographic medium. Builder Levy's work combines social documentary and street photography with the elements of fine art. In these photographs we come face to face with persevering individuals in inner-city neighborhoods in New York City; in communities in the hills and "hollers" and inside coal mines of Appalachia; on the central Asian steppe of Mongolia; in Cuba; and at street demonstrations in the 1960s and the new millennium.
 
Images of Appalachian Coalfields
Author: Builder Levy
Publisher: Temple University Press
Year: 1989 - Pages: 184
Levy ( Colonialism in America: The Appalachian Case ) here presents 93 sensitive black-and-white documentary photographs of miners and mining communities taken in the 1970s and early '80s in West Virginia, Kentucky and Pennsylvania. There are shots of miners setting up support struts or drilling holes for dynamite, working with pick and shovel, taking a lunch break. We see mining families and their friends, the bars they go to, the machines and tools of their trade, their homes and the towns where they live. We also see the slag heaps, sludge ponds and mountainsides denuded by strip-mining that lie in the mining industry's wake. Lewis's knowledgeable introduction to Appalachian mining examines the dangers of the work and the demographics of the industry, describes union struggles and community life in the coal camp and indicts ecologically destructive company policies throughout mining history.
 
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