She works heavily in New York City"s Tribeca and Lower East Side and has associated with movements coming out of the area in the 1970s and 1980s such as Colab and Fluxus. Rifka took part in the 1980 Times Square Show, two Whitney Museum Biennials (1975, 1983), Documenta 7, Just Another Asshole (1981), curated by Carlo McCormick and received the cover of Art in America in 1984 for her series, "Architecture," which employed the three-dimensional stretchers that she adopted in exhibitions dating to 1982. In a 1985 review in the New York Times, Vivien Raynor noted Rifka"s shift to large paintings of the female nude, which also employed the three-dimensional stretchers.
In a 1985 episode of Miami Vice, Bianca Jagger played a character attacked in front of Rifka"s three-dimensional nude still-life, "Bacchanaal", which was on display at the Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale.
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.”
Judy Rifka"s popular figuration is noted for its nervous line and frenetic pace. Joseph Masheck described Rifka in his 1993 book, Modernities (see excerpt below).
“Rifka’s wit, which luckily keeps up with her anxious agitation, entails putting high care into a ‘careless’ look. And in a world charged with contending impersonal forces, this is like advertising in reverse, ‘pushing’ the individual consciousness in all its brave fragility.”
“Rifka’s commitment to process and discovery, doctrine with Abstract Expressionist practice, is of paramount concern though there is nothing dogmatic or pious about Rifka’s use of method.
Playful rapidity and delight in discovery is everywhere evident in her painting.”.