The Avalon Foundation is pleased to announce David C. Levy as the juror for the Plein Air Easton 2018 competition. Plein Air Easton is the largest and most prestigious outdoor painting competition in the United States. Each year Plein Air Easton chooses a single person to evaluate hundreds of slides from plein air painters around the world and select the 58 artists who compete in Easton in July. This person becomes the single judge for the event in the following year. Relying on a single juror ensures a clear and new curatorial perspective from year to year and has led to the discovery of fresh talent not just for Easton but the larger plein air movement. While this approach has been central to the Plein Air Easton’s vibrancy, it also means that the person selected as juror must have excellent credentials and an interesting perspective.
The son of artists Edgar Levy and Lucille Corcos and godson of sculptors David Smith and Dorothy Dehner, David Levy grew up in the midst of the creative community that moved the world’s art capital from Europe to New York during the seminal years of the late 1940s and early ‘50s. An internationally known and highly respected arts professional, he is an artist/designer, educator, museum director, art historian and musician.
Dr. Levy served for 19 years as the CEO of the Parsons School of Design, transforming the school from a small, struggling, non-degree-granting trade school into one of the largest and most diversified visual arts colleges in the United States. He served as President and Director of the Corcoran Gallery of Art and College of Art and Design. Over his 14-year tenure, Levy rebuilt both the museum and its college of art, mounting more than 300 exhibitions and expanding the museum’s 1990 attendance of 80,000 to just under one million by 2004. In 2005, Levy began a consulting relationship with Cambridge Information Group (CIG) and, in 2007, became President of its Education Group and of its graduate school, Sotheby’s Institute of Art. Other accomplishments include the creation of The New School of Jazz and Contemporary Music, co-founding the Delaware College of Art & Design and Bach to Rock, a chain of music schools with an innovative curriculum based on the formation of small bands.
It is fair to say that David Levy has lived his life in the eye of the storm that transformed the American art world. Yet, as an artist Levy cares deeply about the elements that make great plein air paintings. An important influence on Levy’s aesthetic development was his long collaboration with the brilliant graphic artist and Art Director’s Hall of Fame laureate, Cipe Pineles, with whom he designed hundreds of books and other publications. Together they won numerous awards in recognition of their design excellence and creative innovation. Levy credits this experience and Pineles’ guidance with the refinement of his eye for balance, color and composition and for a fastidiousness about these relationships in both two- and three-dimensional work.
Plein Air Easton has been a leader and catalyst in the development of the modern plein air movement over the past 14 years. Many of the most important trends started in Easton and the push for ever higher standards in plein air painting have been forged in Easton through the intense competition among the top painters in the field. The Avalon Foundation is confident that its selection of David Levy as the 2018 event juror will set the stage for even more innovation and excellence. The application deadline to be considered for Plein Air Easton is January 26.