Judy Gelles

Contact Information



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Sculpture 3D


Artist's Biography

Judy Gelles received her MFA in photography from the Rhode Island School of Design. Her work is in major collections including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Museum of Modern Art in Rio de Janeiro. In 2013, Critical Mass listed her as one of the top 50 photographers in the US.

Artist's Statement

Fourth Grade Project

Over the past eight years Judy Gelles has interviewed and photographed more than 300 fourth grade students from a wide range of economic and cultural backgrounds in China, India, South Korea, England, St. Lucia, Italy, South Africa and multiple areas of the United States. She asked all of the students the same three questions: Who do you live with? What do you wish for? What do you worry about?

Words from Home

Words can inspire and challenge us. They help us understand our heritage. All of us carry the voices of our parents around in our heads: advice, criticisms, guidance, and warnings. This series is drawn from the words of her mother and father. Words From Home” are phrases that have been a part of her psyche for over fifty years. In the past she used them as text to accompany her images. These words have now taken on a life of their own and have the physical presence her parents no longer do.

Selected Exhibitions

Fourth Grade Project, Granary Arts Center, Ephraim, UT

Berlin Foto Biennale, Palazzo Italia, Berlin, Germany

Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize Exhibition, National Portrait Gallery, London, UK

Fourth Grade Project, The Open Lens Gallery at the Gershman Y, Philadelphia, PA

Night and Day, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA

Sights for When the Sun Arrives, Pentimenti Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

I Want to Grow Up Fast, Pentimenti Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

Fourth Grade Project, Bernstein Gallery, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ

Fourth Grade Project, The Gallery at 543, Urban Outfitters Inc. at the Navy Yard, Philadelphia, PA

Fourth Grade Project, Burrison Gallery, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA

Centennial Juried Exhibition, Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington, DE

Out of the Darkroom, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, Ireland PA

What I Did Last Summer, Stephen Cohen Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

Exposed: Critical Mass 2009, Photo Center NW, Seattle, WA

A Complex Weave: Women and Identity in Contemporary Art, Rutgers University Camden, Camden, NJ
Traveled Exhibition: Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA; Towson University, Towson, MD;
Susquehanna University, Sellinsgrove, PA; Carleton College, Northfield, MN; University of South California, Los Angeles, CA

Etherton Invites, Etherton Gallery, Tucson, AZ

Word Portraits, Fleisher Challenge Exhibition, Philadelphia, PA

Encapsulated Time, The Galleries at Moore College of Art, Philadelphia, PA

Family Ties: Three Generations, Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles, CA

The Art of Photography Show, Lyceum Theatre Gallery, San Diego, CA

Maternal Metaphors II, Ohio University Art Gallery, Athens, OH

Heartfelt, Florida State University Museum of Fine Arts, Tallahassee, FL

Inaugural Exhibition, Cohen Amador Gallery, New York, NY

Beach Boxes, Lyonswier Gallery, New York, NY

A Family Portrait, Philadelphia International Airport Terminal F, Philadelphia, PA

Trailer Park, Brevard Museum of Art and Science, Melbourne, FL

Maternal Metaphors, Rochester Contemporary Art Center, Rochester, NY

Really True! Photography and the Promise of Reality, Ruhrland Museum, Essen, Germany

A Soldier’s Story: Intimate Artifacts of WWII, Gratz College, Elkins Park, PA

Trailer Park, PS 122 Gallery, New York, NY 2002

New Acquisitions, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA

Are You Alone . . ., Visual Studies Workshop, Rochester, NY

A Soldier’s Story: Intimate Artifacts of WWII, National Museum of Jewish American History, Philadelphia, PA

Florida Fragments, Southeast Museum of Photography, Daytona Beach, FL

Frontyard/Backyard, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA

After Dark, Tatar Alexander Gallery, Toronto, Canada

Timekeepers, San Francisco Camerawork, San Francisco, CA

University of the Arts, Philadelphia, PA

Photographic Persona, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY

In and Around the Family, Coleman Gallery, Albuquerque, NM

Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY

Projected Narratives, NYC International Fringe Festival, New York, NY

The Female Gaze: Women Look at Men, Pyramid Arts Center, Rochester, NY

Women of the Book: Jewish Artists, Jewish Themes, Finegood Art Gallery, West Hills, CA

Newport Art Museum, Newport, RI

Women and Photography, School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA

Awards and Honors

Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize, London, UK

Curators Choice Award, CENTER, Santa Fe, NM

Critical Mass 2013: Top 50 Photographers

Lomax Family Foundation Grant, Philadelphia, PA, “Fourth Grade Project

William Penn Foundation Grant, Philadelphia, PA

The Welcome House: A 24 Hour Artist Residency in Love Park, Philadelphia, PA

Critical Mass 2009: Top 50 Photographers

Fleisher Challenge Artist, Philadelphia, PA

Artist Residency, Atlantic Center for the Arts, New Smyrna Beach, FL

Pennsylvania Council on the Arts SOS Grant

WYBE Public Television Philadelphia Stories 4 New Program Grant

Visual Studies Workshop, Artist Residency, Rochester, NY

Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation Artist as Catalyst Grant, Baltimore, MD

Independence Foundation Fellowship in the Arts, Philadelphia, PA

Leeway Foundation Window of Opportunity Award, Philadelphia, PA

Artist Residency, MacDowell Colony, Peterborough, NH

Artist Residency, Visual Studies Workshop, Rochester, NY


Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA
Museum of Modern Art, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles, CA
Southeast Museum of Photography, Daytona Beach, FL
Danforth Museum of Art, Framingham, MADayton Art Institute, Dayton, OH
Haverford College, Haverford, PALehigh University, Bethlehem, PARhode Island School of Design Museum, Providence, RI
University of Miami, Miami, FL

Lectures and Talks

Fourth Grade Project, Snow College, Ephraim, UT

TedX Penn – Fourth Grade Project, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA

Fourth Grade Project, The Gershman Y, Philadelphia, PA, Guest Lecturer

Fourth Grade Project, The Gallery at 543, Urban Outfitters Inc. at the Navy Yard, Philadelphia, PA

Guest Lecturer, Fourth Grade Project, Beverly Hills Forum, Beverly Hills, CA

Guest Lecturer, The Leeway Foundation, Philadelphia, PA

Guest Lecturer, Rutgers University, Camden, NJ

Guest Lecturer, CW Post University, Brookline, NY

Guest Lecturer, Moore College of Art, Philadelphia, PA

Guest Lecturer, Perkins Center for the Arts, Moorestown, NJ

Guest Lecturer, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

Panelist, Maternal Metaphors, Rochester Contemporary Arts Center, Rochester, NY

Guest Lecturer, Pennsylvania College of Art and Design, Lancaster, PA

Guest Lecturer, Open Space Gallery, Writers Circle, Allentown, PA, Guest Lecturer


Gelles, Judy, Beach Boxes, One Picture Book Number 24, Nazraeli Press, 2004, Artist Book

Gelles, Judy, Florida Family Portrait, Visual Studies Workshop, Rochester, NY, 2002, Artist Book

Gelles, Judy, When We Were Ten, Visual Studies Workshop, Rochester, NY, 1997, Artist Book

Gelles, Richard, Contemporary Families, Sage Publications, Newbury Park, CA, 1995, Illust.


Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI
MFA, Photography