Born in New York City, Judy Rifka attended Hunter College, Skowhegan School of Art, and the New York Studio School before receiving a BA from Empire State College and a Master’s degree from Adelphi University. Her early solo exhibitions in 1975 in New York were in galleries frequented by the Vogels—Artists Space and Bykert Gallery. That same year, Rifka was included in the Whitney Biennial and the first public exhibition of the Vogel Collection—Painting, Drawing and Sculpture of the ‘60s and ‘70s from the Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection—at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia.
Rifka was a founding member of the artist collective, Collaborative Projects (known as Colab), and exhibited work in the New York nightclub, the Mudd Club. Her work has been included in numerous group exhibitions and is in the permanent collections of major national and international museums.
Judy Rifka's career spans over 50 one-person shows and countless group exhibitions; her work can be seen in numerous public collections in museums and foundations, throughout the United States and Europe. Her work has been featured in major exhibitions at 1983 Whitney Biennial and the 1975 Whitney Biennial; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Documenta VII, Kassel; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Carnegie Mellon University; Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia; The New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; The Brooklyn Museum; The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield; Moderner Kunst, Vienna; Laforet Museum, Tokyo; Kansas City Art Institute; The Hudson River Museum, Yonkers; Kunst Rai, Amsterdam; Mint Museum, Charlotte; Bass Museum of Art, Miami; The Museum of Fine Art, Boston; Rhode Island School of Design, Providence. Rifka has been widely written about, and featured in, among other places, Art Forum, Art in America, Kunst Forum, Tema Celeste, Flash Art, The New Yorker, Elle and New York Magazine.