Ruth Reader

Artist Beth Lipman awarded prestigious $50,000 fellowship


Beth Lipman, a glass artist known for her austere three-dimensional still life sculptures largely devoted to examining extravagance, is one of 50 artists to be awarded theUnited States Artist Fellowship. Founded in 2006, the organization provides each fellow with a $50,000 grant to continue progress work in their given field. While many Americans see the struggling nature of being an artist as part of the territory, United States Artists believe artists should be duly compensated for their work. Actor and director Tim Robbins hosted the awards ceremony Monday night at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica, California. 

A graduate of the Tyler School of Art,Lipman has been showing her work in solo and selected group exhibitions since 2000. In ancient times, still life paintings were included in tombs as offerings that were believed to become real in the afterlife. But Lipman’s work dashes that notion, forcing her audience instead to carefully examine the timeless scenes. It’s this juxtaposition of luxury and chaos, a gluttonous bowl of fruit or a 10 foot tall dessert stand filled with a jumble of wine glasses and tableware, that makes Lipman’s work so engaging.

Beth Lipman in the studio. courtesy: corning museum of glass studio.

But it’s her cultural astuteness that makes Lipman’s work relevant, garnering it a place in many modern art museums. Her recent sculpture, One and Others(2011), features a table littered with toppled drink-ware and upturned remnants of a night’s festivities, serves as a reminder to many of the kind of attitude that landed Americans in the belly of a recession. The artist, who began creating these scenes at the tail end of former President Clinton’s economic surplus, an era filled with spending reminiscent of the the gilded age, often seeks to deconstruct the value in excess through her work. One and Others, featured above, is her most recently completed commission piece for the Norton Museum of Art in Florida

The Heller Gallery in New York, which represents Lipman, will feature her work  at the upcoming Art Palm Beach fair. The event will take place at the Palm Beach County Convention Center January 20-23, 2012, with an opening night preview on January 19.

—Ruth Reader