The Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) presents “Beth Lipman: Collective Elegy,” from September 25 to April 4, 2021, a major midcareer survey that is the first to assess the remarkable achievements of the renowned contemporary artist. From sumptuous displays of excess, including provocative installations comprising hundreds of individual glass elements, to poetic and contemplative works in glass, metal, clay, video, and photography, the works on view are ethereal meditations on time and mortality and simultaneously sobering indictments of our contemporary consumer culture and its impact on the planet. “For more than twenty years, Beth has built on the still-life tradition, illustrating the ability of objects to signify wealth, class, and identity. She further critiques Western society’s capitalist values and the environmental consequences of unfettered consumption,” said Samantha De Tillio, MAD’s curator of collections.
Lipman’s monumental Laid (Time-) Table with Cycads forms the centerpiece of the exhibition. Melding landscape and tablescape through representations of prehistoric plant life bursting forth through a table laden with goblets, bowls of fruit, books, textiles, and other cultural markers, the work evokes the interdependence and tension between humanity and the natural world. “Collective Elegy represents a decade of investigation centering the human condition, demarcating the present moment in deep time,” said Lipman. “In this sense, the work examines aspects of material culture and history through still lifes, site-specific installations, and photographs.” Accompanying the exhibition is an 88-page catalog, published by the Museum and Lucia | Marquand, featuring full-color plates of Lipman’s artworks, to be released in early 2021. Public programs and workshops to be scheduled during the run of the exhibition will illuminate the exhibition’s content and themes further and will encourage participants to explore and consider the materiality of glass. Opening in conjunction with Collective Elegy, New York City’s Nohra Haime Gallery will present EVERY LAST THING, the first solo exhibition of Lipman’s work at the gallery, from November 5 to January 16, 2021.