Judith Blankman’s introduction to sculpture began outdoors in a limestone quarry at Sarah Lawrence College in Provence, France in 1979. She received her BFA from San Jose State University in 1981 and MA and MFA degrees from San Francisco State University in 1986 and 1988.
Awarded her first solo exhibition at the Institute for Design and Experimental Art (I.D.E.A.) in Sacramento, California in 1989, she has exhibited her sculpture and installation works throughout California, the United States and parts of Europe, including the San Francisco Art Institute, the Columbus Museum, and the University of Montana.
In 1979, she worked on The Dinner Party Project by Judy Chicago. In 1994, Judith served as assistant research editor with Susan Leibovitz Steinman for Mapping the Terrain, a book on socially engaged public art edited by Suzanne Lacy.
Judith also created socially-motivated food furniture installations that act while they speak. In the Comfort Hunger series, food from each installation was donated after the exhibition closing. Lifestyle: Comfort Hunger has received several awards and was included in the Rene and Veronica Di Rosa Foundation’s collection in Napa, California.
Outdoor works included Red River Beds, (1998) a 300-foot installation of nine beds floating in a river configuration in a pygmy oak grove, Carry Me Away From Here So I Can (1995-96), a wind-activated, floating sail wheel and Spatial Politics: A Garden (1994), a temporary collaborative garden environment, both built for an office building courtyard in San Francisco.
Buried Days Starved Dreams: Auschwitz Memory (1994-1995), an installation exhibited the Oakland Museum is the first in a series of Holocaust works made in response to Blankman’s visit to Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland. Her public works include Mluv! Speak! a dirt mural for public housing in Ostrava, Czechoslovakia as well as a conceptual site proposal and interpretive tours of San Francisco’s historic Sutro Baths ruins.
The inclusion of performance activations of her installations debuted during The San Francisco Festival at De Fabriek in Eindhoven, Holland in 1992, with a subsequent exhibit in the Prea’di’seum Projekt, organized by Stichting Peninsula in Eindhoven. The performance 8-Ball Obbligato, designed for a pool hall, was created in collaboration with composer Marilyn Hudson and has been presented in the San Francisco Bay Area. Blankman and Hudson also collaborated on Reclaiming the Ground Note: Echoes from Broken Vessels, a sound sculptural project involving boats converted into musical instruments. Blankman’s last large installation and performance project presented in 2002, Cascadence, was created in collaboration with composer and musician Chus Alonso and was supported in part with an Individual Artist Commission grant from the San Francisco Arts Commission’s Cultural Equity Grants Program.
Judith discarded the notion of earning a living as an artist and instead embarked on learning a series of skills and obtaining employment as a web designer, an information architect, a web producer, an interaction designer, and ultimately as a digital accessibility subject matter expert. She had a range of employers in fields starting in higher education (1999-2004), transitioned to the biotech industry (2005-6) and finally in the financial sector from 2006 until her retirement in 2021. During her earning years her art career was on hiatus after her last big project in 2002.
She currently lives in Sebastopol, California with her husband Kevin Kraynak, their 3 cats, and a bountiful garden.