Intertwining social documentary, street and art photography, Builder Levy’s work is about celebrating the human spirit.
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). He received 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. This past summer he showed his Appalachia photographs at the O.K Harris Works of Art and Flomenhaft Galleries in New York City. He is currently showing work in the Appalachian Photographers Project exhibition at the Carroll Reece Museum in Johnson City, Tennessee.
The High Museum of Art included Levy’s iconic vintage photographs in the historic exhibition, Road to Freedom: Photographs of the Civil Rights Movement, 1956-1968 (and the accompanying eponymous book/catalogue), organized by the curator Julian Cox. The show opened at he High Museum of Art in 2008, then 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, 2010, Freedom, Phaidon Press, Cityscapes, Columbia University Press, 100 New York Photographers, Schiffer Press ‘09, Deborah Willis’ Posing Beauty, Norton Press, ‘09, and 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. He was also featured in the last issue of Doubletake Magazine (Fall/Winter ‘07), edited by Robert Coles. 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 & new millennium), Mongolia and other developing nations including Cuba, Venezuela, Mexico, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia.