Adam Harrison Levy is a writer and documentary film producer and director. He specializes in the art of the interview. For the BBC he has conducted interviews with a wide range of artists, writers, and actors. He wrote catalogue essays for Hiroshima: Ground Zero 1945 and Saul Leiter: Retrospective. He teaches at the School of Visual Arts and in the Film Studies Department at Wesleyan University.


Eclecticism will propel the writing here, as well as a belief in narrative and the importance of biography.

High will mix with low, the purely visual with the textural, journalistic reportage with meditative essay. Painting, film and photography will be gateways into visual history.

I’m compelled by stories that start off as a knot: stories that have to be unraveled or untied, stories that are mysteries or enigmas. I’m also drawn to people, places and things that have been forgotten, overlooked or ignored.

Some of my posts will be biographical profiles, built from the ground-up and assembled from interviews. Some will be riffs on current exhibitions or reviews of events: ticker tape stuff to keep you plugged into design related (in the widest sense) happenings in New York.

Other posts will be long form narratives, stories of discovery: shoe leather journeys, constructed from original, first hand research, rather than from information that has been re-purposed from other sources. I’ll toggle between these in-depth pieces and nimbler, shorter takes on an image, a thing, or an idea in order to keep things zinging along.

I believe in the importance and resilience of story. My ideal is to write pieces that are as compelling as fiction, or as gripping as a scene from a film.

Adam Harrison Levy
Tag Lines

#infrastructure #mark out #urban archaeology #public utilities #mapping

Adam Harrison Levy
An Interview With Philip Glass

Adam Harrison Levy
Soundies: An Interview with Robert Whitman

A rare conversation with an unheralded member of the ’70s New York art scene

Adam Harrison Levy
Hiroshima Lost and Found

Adam Harrison Levy
Pop Art Is … Interviews with Andy Warhol

Adam Harrison Levy
The Hand of the Demagogue: An Interview with Hitler

An Interview with Hitler

Adam Harrison Levy
Revisiting the Passion of George Lois

A man and his magazine covers

Adam Harrison Levy
Bowie and the Beats

Process and the poem

Adam Harrison Levy
Designer’s Cookbook: Louise Fili

Lousie Fili on her love of Italy, type and food.

Adam Harrison Levy
The Observer Decameron—Seventh Day

The top ten books of 2015 picked by our contributors

Adam Harrison Levy

Adam Harrison Levy
In Wonderland

Adam Harrison Levy
The History of Being Found

Life before Street View

Adam Harrison Levy
Lost Tribes

A journey that resulted in one of the most evocative travel books ever written, In Patagonia.

Adam Harrison Levy
The Master

Adam Harrison Levy
Shopping Through the Iron Curtain

Poignant images of a failed utopia

Adam Harrison Levy
Death’s Bloom

From 1913 to 1971, 5,121 mentally ill patients were cremated. Nineteen of them were soldiers. This weekend they were buried with military honors.

Adam Harrison Levy
Shock Value

Reprising the near-forgotten work of William Helburn

Adam Harrison Levy
Beheading: A Visual History

From the Bible to the YBAs

Adam Harrison Levy
Vulgar Lives

The work of Rosalyn Drexler

Adam Harrison Levy
Artifacts of Annihilation

Archival documents help reconstruct the horror of Auschwitz

Adam Harrison Levy
Henri Matisse: The Lost Interview, Part III

Matisse considers his legacy

Adam Harrison Levy
Henri Matisse: The Lost Interview, Part II

In Part II, Matisse lets down his guard

Adam Harrison Levy
Henri Matisse: The Lost Interview

A previously unknown conversation with a modern master

Adam Harrison Levy
Bustles and Thongs

The enduring fascination with lingerie

Adam Harrison Levy
Saul Leiter: Early Black And White

Adam Harrison Levy
An Interview with Picasso

On a Saturday morning in 1945 a young American soldier named Jerome Seckler climbed three flights of stairs to Pablo Picasso’s studio with the goal of being enlightened.

Adam Harrison Levy
Coney Island of The Mind

Adam Harrison Levy
Tracks of My Tears

As Rose-Lynn Fisher’s photographs make clear, your tears are yours alone and each one is different.

Adam Harrison Levy
Jeff Koons’s Studio: An ER Room for Art

Walking into Jeff Koons’s studio is like entering a medical laboratory crossed with an open plan office. It’s an ER room for art.

Adam Harrison Levy
Letters in Reverse

Adam Harrison Levy
The Unseen D-Day

Adam Harrison Levy
Geek Stories

Adam Harrison Levy
The Last Unknown Place in New York

Adam Harrison Levy
The Falling Man: An Interview with Henry Singer

The Falling Man is a 90-minute documentary that tells the story of a controversial image. Who took it? Why was it censored? And who was the man in the photograph?

Adam Harrison Levy
The Oldest Living Things In the World

Climate change — once a distant fear — is already upon us, Rachel Sussman’s glorious, and vitally important book could not have come at a more crucial moment.

Adam Harrison Levy
Data Loss

Adam Harrison Levy on losing everything he had stored on his phone for three years.

Adam Harrison Levy
Artist’s Cookbook: David Levinthal

Adam Harrison Levy
Artist’s Cookbook: Kiki Smith

Adam Harrison Levy
Designer’s Cookbook: Jake Tilson

Only in the layered, interconnected culinary world of graphic designer, artist, cookbook author Jake Tilson could huevos rancheros eaten in Los Angeles inspire someone to cook Baid Masus, or Baghdad Special Eggs, a 13th-century Arab dish.

Adam Harrison Levy
Artist’s Cookbook: Joel Meyerowitz

Photographer Joel Meyerowitz's story of marriage and pasta con le sarde.

Adam Harrison Levy
Artist’s Cookbook: April Gornik

Adam Harrison Levy
Saul Leiter: Remembered

Saul Leiter taught himself to paint, but his father did not approve. These early abstract works, dating from the 1940s, show a remarkably confident use of line, color and composition.

Adam Harrison Levy
Artist’s Cookbook: Alex Katz

Adam Harrison Levy
Designer’s Cookbook: George Lois

George Lois designs iconic Esquire covers, but you should hear him talk about food.

Adam Harrison Levy
Adam Harrison Levy on Questions

Adam Harrison Levy
Dylan Stone: 100 Years

Adam Harrison Levy reviews Dylan Stone's exhibition of 100 years of personal pocket diaries at Ruth Phaneuf Fine Art.

Adam Harrison Levy
A Father’s Things

Contributing writer Adam Harrison Levy remembers his father and reflects on being a father himself: a Design Observer short film.

Adam Harrison Levy
The Geometry of Time

Francesca Woodman's notebook, entitled Some Disordered Interior Geometries, is featured in a retrospective of her work at the Guggenheim Museum.

Adam Harrison Levy
A History Of The World In 100 Objects

Adam Harrison Levy reviews the book A History Of The World In 100 Objects.

Adam Harrison Levy
Disaster with a D

The famous movie Star had twice failed to show up for the interview. The crew passed the time by sending emails, making phone calls and gorging on the food. I paced.

Adam Harrison Levy
Jump Cut: Thoughts on Editing

What can designers, architects and writers learn from the art of film editing?

Adam Harrison Levy
A Tattoo, A Toothbrush and A Pipe

Adam Harrison Levy writes three stories for Father's Day: about being a father, about father-hood and about his own father.

Adam Harrison Levy
Hiroshima: The Lost Photographs

Close to a decade ago, a man caught sight of a battered suitcase: inside it, he found photographs of a bombed out Hiroshima. A unique slideshow of 100 photographs.

Adam Harrison Levy
Sustainable Christmas Trees

From artificial firs to rented spruces, a report on alternatives to the chopped-down Xmas tree.

Adam Harrison Levy
The Wood Stacker

All his work, freed him from a dependency on oil. His heat is local.

Adam Harrison Levy
O Tannenbaum!

People are talking differently about Christmas trees this year. They’re downscaling or simplifying their annual rite.

Adam Harrison Levy
Significant Objects: Star of David Plate

Significant Objects is a much-discussed experiment conducted by Joshua Glenn and Rob Walker. The first of five stories is by Adam Harrison Levy...

Adam Harrison Levy
Cars R Us

Andrew Bush’s photographs, featured in his new book Drive, remind us just how intimate we have become with our cars.

Adam Harrison Levy
William Klein: Contacts

William Klein made a rare appearance in New York recently to promote his latest book, Contacts. American by birth, he has lived most of his life in Paris. He is now 81.

Adam Harrison Levy
The Inventor of the Cowboy Shirt

A few years ago, I found myself lost inside a shopping mall with Jack A. Weil, better known as Jack A, the man who, in 1946, invented the snap-buttoned cowboy shirt.

Adam Harrison Levy
The Passion of George Lois

How adman George Lois chronicled the sixties with his cover designs for Esquire magazine, with a peek behind the scenes at the legendary famous Muhammad-Ali-as-St. Sebastian photoshoot.


Orson Welles
Found photographs
Errol Morris
Dark Chocolate

Films by Adam Harrison Levy

Lou Reed Remebered, BBC4
US producer/Director Interviews
Paul Auster, Lenny Kaye
December, 2013

Secret Voices of Hollywood, BBC4
US Producer/Director of Interviews
August, 2013

Tracy K Smith, Pulitzer Prize in Poetry
Producer/Director, Rolex Mentorship Program, Proudfoot, UK
May 2012

The Kennedys: A Culture Show Special, BBC 2
BBC 2, US Producer/Director Interviews
Interview with Lewis Lapham
June 15, 2011

Hiroshima: Ground Zero, 1945
International Center of Photography
Trailer for exhibition
Vimeo, May, 2011


Catalogues by Adam Harrison Levy

Saul Leiter
Deichtorhallan, Hamburg, Germany
August, 2012

Hiroshima: Ground Zero, 1945
International Center of Photography
New York
August 2011


Creative Opportunities
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