Beth Lipman New Yorker review of exhibition at Museum of Art and Design
This glass artist’s compact mid-career survey at the Museum of Arts & Design, titled “Collective Elegy,” is a seductive, cinematic affair, well suited to Lipman’s themes and to her glittering, translucent medium. The show’s breathtaking centerpiece is presented for maximum effect: a phantasmic sculptural still-life of a banquet table, from 2015, greets visitors as they get off an elevator. The array of elements—bowls of fruit and piles of books, redolent of European painting history—are upturned by a forest of prehistoric plants. The tension between historical and prehistoric time is a through line in Lipman’s work (which also includes photographs). An enchanted pastoral sensibility, inflected by decorative-art traditions, rules. But one large piece departs from the over-all look of things. Here, enlarged images, cut out and sandwiched between plates of glass, are arranged to form a disjointed interior. According to an accompanying guide, the depicted objects are as historically disparate as a bookshelf from Frederick Douglass’s library and a typewriter belonging to the conservationist Rachel Carson. Titled “House Album,” the ambitious collage-installation, completed this year, sparks excitement about Lipman’s next move.