In the course of her prolific career, Judy Rifka has touched upon many media including painting, printmaking, video art, and sculpture. In the late 1970s, Rifka was a founding member of the New York-based artist collective Colab, and a leading figure in the No Wave movement. Among her best-known works are what she calls “paintings in the round:” painted canvases stretched around irregular frames, which are then propped vertically.
Rene Ricard said of Rifka in his influential December 1987 Art Forum article about the iconic identity of artists, The Radiant Child, "We are that radiant child and have spent our lives defending that little baby, constructing an adult around it to protect it from the unlisted signals of forces we have no control over. We are that little baby, the radiant child, and our name, what we are to become, is outside us and we must become “Judy Rifka” or “Jean-Michel” the way I became “Rene Ricard.”
Rifka has been part of two Whitney Museum Biennials (1975, 1983), Documenta 7, the 1980 Times Square Show, Just Another Asshole (1981), curated by Carlo McCormick and received the cover of Art in America in 1984 for her series, "Architecture,". Her work is part of countless public and private collections. Most notably, the Museum of Modern Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 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.