Ellen Levy

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Ellen Levy
Levy in Speaking Portraits
New York, New York, United States
  • University of Plymouth, Ph.D., 2012
  • School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1981
  • Mount Holyoke College, B.A.
Occupation(s)Artist and scholar
Don't Cry in Space, Ellen Levy, acrylic and gel over unique print, 2020

Ellen K. Levy is an American multimedia artist and scholar known for exploring art, science and technology interrelationships since the early 1980s. Levy works to highlight their importance through exhibitions, educational programs, publications and curatorial opportunities; often through collaborations with scientists including NASA, some in conjunction with Leonardo, the International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology. She is a past president of the College Art Association and has published widely on art and complex systems.


She earned her doctorate from the University of Plymouth in 2012 on the study of art and the neuroscience of attention, and received her diploma in painting from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, following a BA from Mount Holyoke College in Zoology.[1]


Levy, "whose fascination with technology is not only tinged by skepticism but also rivaled by an interest in the acts of God that are sometimes visited on grand technological schemes -- witness the Challenger," was one of the early artists commissioned by the NASA Art Program, in 1985.[2][3][4] Her early career focused on painting and exhibitions at then alternative science spaces such as the New York Academy of Sciences in 1984, NASA; and the National Academy of Sciences, and is also in their collection.[5][6] She has had numerous solo exhibitions in the United States and abroad, including at Associated American Artists[7] and Michael Steinberg Fine Arts in New York City.[8] Shared Premises: Innovation and Adaptation was exhibited at the National Technical Museum in Prague.[9] Her work was also included in the Second Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art exhibit, Petroliana (Oil Patriotism).[10][11]

Her talks and exhibitions explore attention, perception, and genetics,[12][13][14][15][16][17] including human error and inattention blindness in Stealing Attention;[18][19][20] in exhibitions involving the environment such as Weather Report and Climate Change, (2004) curated by Lucy Lippard, and Face Off (2004), curated by Ronald Feldman;[21][22] and a two-person exhibition based on data from the magazine Skeptical Inquirer;[23][24] and in her New York Public Library site-specific exhibition Meme Machines, using mixed media to visualize cultural evolution and ways of creating and transmitting knowledge,[25][26] which was also the subject of an Art Talk interview with novelist Siri Hustvedt.[27]

Former chair of Leonardo/ISAST's LEAF (Leonardo Education and Art Forum) initiative,[28] Levy co-directs, with Patricia Olynyk, the New York City-based Leonardo Art and Science Evening Rendezvous (LASER), part of Leonardo/ISAST's international program of evening gatherings that brings artists and scientists together for informal presentations and conversations.[29][30] A twice invited participant to The Watermill Center's Art & Consciousness Workshop,[31] she was President of the College Art Association from 2004 to 2006,[32] Special Advisor on the Arts and Sciences at the Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts(IDSVA) from 2012 to 2017, and a Distinguished Visiting Fellow in Arts and Sciences at Skidmore College in 1999, a position funded by the Henry Luce Foundation,[33] and named one of the 66 Brilliant Women in Creative Technology.[34]

Levy has published in many books and journals including Leonardo/ISAST's journal Leonardo. In 1996 she was guest editor of Art Journal's Contemporary Art and the Genetic Code, the first widely distributed, in-depth academic publication about contemporary artistic responses to genetics, genomics, which included articles by Stephen J. Gould, Roald Hoffmann, Robert Root-Bernstein, Martin Kemp, and Dorothy Nelkin, and was cited in Cambridge University Press's Science in Context, Writing Modern Art and Science – An Overview.[35][36] Her article Contemporary Art and the Genetic Code: New Models and Methods of Representation,[37] was cited in Stephen Wilson's 2003's Information Arts, Intersections of Art, Science, and Technology,[38] an introduction to the work and ideas of "a who's who of international scenemakers," artists who use and influence science and technology; and in 2016, with her essay Art Enters the Biotechnology Debate: Questions of Ethics,[39] was listed in Oxford University Press's authoritative guide to the current scholarship on Science and Contemporary Art.[40] Barbara Larson and Ellen Levy are co-editors of the Science and the Arts Since 1750 six title book series published by Routledge.[41]

Selected bibliography[edit]

  • D'Arcy Wentworth Thompson's Generative Influences in Art, Design, and Architecture From Forces to Forms, Eds. Ellen K. Levy, Charissa N. Terranova; Bloomsbury Visual Arts, London; March 2021, ISBN 9781350191136
  • Book Series: Science and the Arts since 1750, Eds., Barbara Larson, Ellen K. Levy; 2017 - 2021, Routledge Press, US and UK.
  • "Enraptured: Attention and Art," Perception and Agency in Shared Spaces of Contemporary Art, Eds., C.Albu and D. Schuld; 171-183, 2017, Routledge Press, US and UK.
  • "Classifying Kubler: Between the Complexity of Science and Art," Im Maschenwerk der Kunstgeschichte, Eds., S. Maupeu, K. Schankweiler, S. Stallschus; 225-245, Kulturverlag Kadmos, Berlin, 2014.
  • "Sleuthing the Mind," Leonardo, 47 ( 5), 427-435, 2014 doi:10.1162/LEON a 00864
  • "Contemporary Art and the Aesthetics of Natural Selection," Darwin and Theories of Aesthetics and Cultural History, Eds., Barbara Larson and Sabine Flach, Aldershot, UK: Ashgate Press, 145-165, 2013
  • "Neuroscience and the Arts Today," in PAJ, 35 (3), 8-23, 2013, doi:10.1162/PAJJ-a-00157
  • "Bioart and Nanoart in a Museum Context: Terms of Engagement," Ed., J. Marstine; The Routledge Companion to Museum Ethics: Redefining Ethics for the Twenty-First Century Museum, 445-464, 2011, Routledge Press, US and UK.
  • "Defining Life: Artists Challenge Conventional Classifications," Eds., M. Lovejoy, C. Paul, V. Vesna; Context Providers, 275-299, 2011, Intellect Press, Bristol and University of Chicago Press, Chicago, ISBN 9781841503080
  • "Cultural Evolution," Ed., Leonardo Journal, 43 (5), 420, 2010, doi:10.1162/LEON e 00032
  • "Art Enters the Biotechnology Debate: Questions of Ethics," Eds., G. Levin, E. King; Ethics and the Visual Arts, Ch. 16, 199-216, Allworth Press, New York, 2006, ISBN 9781581158229
  • "Complexity" with Philip Galanter and Manuel A. Báez, Leonardo, volume 36, issue 4, pp. 259–267, 2003 doi:10.1162/002409403322258583
  • "The Genome and Art: Finding Potential in Unknown Places," Leonardo, 34 (2), 2014, 172-175. 2001, doi:10.1162/002409401750184762
  • "Contemporary Art and the Genetic Code," Art Journal, Levy, E., Ed. with Sichel, B., 55 (1) Spring Issue 1996, College Art Association, New York, doi:10.1080/00043249.1996.10791734
  • "Monkey in the Middle: PreDarwinian Evolutionary Thought and Artistic Creation," Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, Levy, E., Levy, D., & Goldberg, M (1986), 3 (1): 95-106, 1986. doi:10.1353/pbm.1986.0092


  1. ^ Carey, Brainard (January 6, 2016). "Interview: Ellen K. Levy". Praxis Interview Magazine, WYBC, Yale University. Yale Broadcasting Company. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
  2. ^ Raynor, Viven (January 8, 1995). "ART; Worlds Falling Apart and Getting Hooked Up". The New York Times. No. 13. Retrieved 14 August 2018.
  3. ^ Schulman, Robert (1988). Visions of flight : a retrospective from the NASA Art Collection. United States. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). p. 29. Retrieved 1 October 2018.
  4. ^ Marter, Joan (1987). "Ellen K. Levy". Arts Magazine. 61: 97–99. Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  5. ^ Levy, Ellen K. "Mirrors and Reflections: A Personal Recollection". The Art Collection of the National Academy of Sciences. National Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 17 September 2018.
  6. ^ "Genetic fruit, thoughtful trees: Academy treasures". newscientist.com. New Scientist. Retrieved 19 July 2018.
  7. ^ Ebony, David. "David Ebony's Top Ten Ellen K. Levy at Associated American Artists". artnet.com. Artnet Worldwide Corporation. Retrieved 8 September 2018.
  8. ^ Pearlman, Ellen (6 April 2009). "Art Seen: Ellen K. Levy". brooklynrail.org. The Brooklyn Rail. Retrieved 31 May 2018.
  9. ^ Robertson, Bruce (September 22, 2013). "Painting in the House of Solomon: Ellen K. Levy's Work Revisited". Woman's Art Journal. Archived from the original on August 15, 2018. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  10. ^ "Petroliana". newsgrist.typepad.com. Newsgrist - where spin is art. Retrieved 14 August 2018.
  11. ^ Niedowski, Erika (March 25, 2007). "Artists take dissenting view of Russia's new oil riches". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 14 August 2018.
  12. ^ Kemp, Martin (January 23, 2003). "The Mona Lisa of modern science". Nature. 421 (6921): 416–420. Bibcode:2003Natur.421..416K. doi:10.1038/nature01403. PMID 12540913.
  13. ^ Genocchio, Benjamin (February 6, 2005). "ART REVIEW; The Haunting Terrain Between Creation and Science". New York Times. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  14. ^ Goodman, Jonathan (April 8, 2009). "Ellen K. Levy: Stealing Attention at Michael Steinberg Fine Art". Art Critical. Retrieved 8 January 2019.
  15. ^ "Re-Invention: My Life as an Astronaut, Artwork by Ellen Levy". artswestchester.org. Arts Westchester. 28 February 2020. Retrieved 1 June 2021.
  16. ^ "Ellen K. Levy: Decoding Metaphors for the 21st Century". Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. Retrieved 1 June 2021.
  17. ^ "Culture in Mendel's Garden by Ellen K. Levy". Genome News Network. May 24, 2002. Retrieved 1 June 2021.
  18. ^ Goodman, Jonathan (April 8, 2009). "Ellen K. Levy: Stealing Attention at Michael Steinberg Fine Art". Art Critical. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  19. ^ Martinez-Conde, Susana (November 22, 2014). "Illusion Chasers: Artist Ellen Levy Steals Your Attention". Scientific American. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
  20. ^ Corwin, William (6 April 2016). "Truth in the Visual Arts Skepticism in the Work of Ellen K. Levy and Patricia Olynyk". brooklynrail.org/. The Brooklyn Rail. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  21. ^ Paglia, Michael (November 29, 2007). "Weather Report: Art and Climate Change". Westword. Retrieved 8 January 2019.
  22. ^ Cotter, Holland (November 26, 2004). "Art In Review; 'Face Off'". New York Times. Retrieved 8 January 2019.
  23. ^ G'Sell, Eileen. "Sumptuous Skeptics: Ellen K. Levy and Patricia Olynyk Stage Creative Inquisition". artefuse.com. Arte Fuse. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
  24. ^ Dobler, Russ (July 1, 2016). "Two Artists Combine Art, Science, and Skepticism". No. Volume 40.4, July/August 2016. Center for Inquiry. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
  25. ^ "Ellen K. Levy, Meme Machines, Art Wall on Third Exhibition Series". nypl.org. The New York Public Library. Retrieved 19 July 2018.
  26. ^ Beckenstein, Joyce (30 May 2017). "Neural Networks: Ellen K. Levy on her "Meme Machines" and the thinking behind them". artcritical.com. artcritical, LLC. Retrieved 8 September 2018.
  27. ^ "Art Talks, Meme Machines, Siri Hustvedt, Ellen K. Levy, An Artist Dialogue Series Event". nypl.org. The New York Public Library. Retrieved 19 July 2018.
  28. ^ "Leonardo Education and Art Forum Chair Ellen K. Levy". Leonardo. 43 (5): 518. 2010. doi:10.1162/LEON_a_00069. S2CID 57558517.
  29. ^ "LASER Talks in New York City". leonardo.info. Leonardo/The International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology (Leonardo/ISAST). Retrieved 1 June 2018.
  30. ^ "Ellen Levy". creativedisturbance.org. Creative Disturbance, The University of Texas at Dallas. Retrieved 10 August 2018.
  31. ^ "The Annual Art and Science Insights into Consciousness Workshop". watermillcenter.org. The Byrd Hoffman Water Mill Foundation. Retrieved 10 August 2018.
  32. ^ "About Presidents of the Board of Directors". collegeart.org. College Art Association. Retrieved 14 August 2018.
  33. ^ Who's Who in Research : Visual Arts. Bristol, UK; Wilmington, NC: Intellect Books. May 2013. p. 179. ISBN 9781841504957. Retrieved 10 October 2018.
  34. ^ "66 Brilliant Women in Creative Technology". Creative Tech Week. PRLog Press Release Logo Press Release Distribution. April 30, 2017. Retrieved 11 June 2019.
  35. ^ Henderson, Linda (January 13, 2005). "Science in Context (). CopyrightC©DOI: 10.1017/S0269889704000225Printed in the United KingdomEditor's Introduction: I. Writing Modern Art and Science – An Overview; II. Cubism, Futurism, and Ether Physics in the Early Twentieth Century". Science in Context. 4 (17): 432. doi:10.1017/S0269889704000225.
  36. ^ Levy, Ellen (Spring 1996). "Contemporary Art and the Genetic Code". Art Journal. 55 (1): 7–16, 20–24. doi:10.1080/00043249.1996.10791734. JSTOR 777802.
  37. ^ Levy, Ellen K. “Contemporary Art and the Genetic Code: New Models and Methods of Representation.” (Spring 1996). "Contemporary Art and the Genetic Code: New Models and Methods of Representation". Art Journal. 55 (1): 20–24. doi:10.1080/00043249.1996.10791734. Retrieved 12 March 2021.
  38. ^ Wilson, Stephen (2002). Information Arts, Intersections of Art, Science, and Technology. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. p. 95. ISBN 9780262232098. Retrieved 12 March 2021.
  39. ^ King, Elaine A.; Levin, Gail (September 1, 2006). Ethics and the Visual Arts. Edited by Elaine A. King and Gail Levin. New York: Simon and Schuster, Allworth. pp. 199–216. ISBN 9781581154580. Retrieved 12 March 2021.
  40. ^ Albu, Cristina. "Science and Contemporary Art". oxfordbibliographies.com. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 12 March 2021.
  41. ^ "Science and the Arts since 1750". routledge.com. Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group. Retrieved 18 August 2021.