June 25 - September 25, 2022

BETH LIPMAN. Sphenophyllum and Chains, 2019. Glass, wood, metal, paint and adhesive.  54 x 38 x 50 in. (137.2 x 96.5 x 127 cm). 

This spring marks the completion of a significant project with artist Beth Lipman—a new, large-scale public sculpture, Living History, that hangs in the museum’s Boeing Foyer entry. Installation of this sculpture commission, a process that took nearly three weeks in April, is now fully installed and viewable to the public. Artist Beth Lipman also was on-site during the process as the sculpture was assembled and put into place.

Following a two-year development for concept, design, fabrication, and installation, the sculpture Living History animates the museum’s vast lobby, measuring 14 feet long by 8 feet wide by 10 feet tall. Epic in scale, it punctuates the museum’s entry experience. Glass, wood, ceramic, and metal are the main materials for the 3-ton artwork—at once ethereal and substantial, captivating and calming.

Living History was made specifically for the Wichita Art Museum and references the history, ecology, and culture of Wichita and surrounding areas. It recreates plants, grasses, and rock formations found in the nearby Flint Hills. Living History also nods to iconic artwork in the museum’s collection, including barber poles from WAM’s Americana collection and vertical forms from artist Louise Nevelson’s Night Sun III sculpture on view in the Sam and Rie Bloomfield Gallery on the museum’s second floor.

Combining ancient and modern forms, Living History explores issues of time—the fleeting impermanence of human life contrasted with the unimaginable expanse of geologic time—to depict the past, present, and future of the Southwest Kansas prairie.

Beth Lipman is a star of the contemporary art world. Her work now resides in the collections of the Brooklyn Museum, Corning Museum of Glass, Detroit Institute of Arts, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Lipman boasts recent commissions with WAM as well as Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas, and the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, Florida.


BETH LIPMAN. Living History (detail ), 2022. Glass, wood, ceramic and metal.  120 x 168 x 96 in. (304.8 x 426.7 x 243.8 cm). Wichita Art Museum, Museum Purchase, F. Price Cossman Memorial Trust, INTRUST Bank, Trustee. Photo by Larry Schwarm. 

In celebration of Beth Lipman–whose monumental, 3-ton sculpture Living History was recently unveiled in the museum’s Boeing Foyer–WAM presents All in Time, a mid-career retrospective of the artist featuring her work from the mid-2000s through today.

For over 20 years, artist Beth Lipman has used glass and other materials to create luscious and sumptuous still lifes. These still lifes feature everything from bowls of fruit to prehistoric plants to piles of books. For Lipman, each still life object speaks to identity–of an individual, a society, and of human culture in general. All in Time brings into focus Lipman’s long interest in using glass to explore issues of life, creation, decay, and death–the fleeting nature of human life and human history contrasted with the billions of years of geological time. What is the role of humanity and art in a world and universe that existed long before us? What do we create that endures?

Beth Lipman is a star of the contemporary art world. The Museum of Arts and Design staged a one-person survey exhibition last year with related catalogue. She has been honored with artist fellowships by the Pollock-Krasner Foundation and The Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation. In 2013, she was honored by a Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship. That same year, PBS featured her in the Craft in America documentary. In 2018, Lipman was elected a Fellow of the American Craft Council. Recently, the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art (Arkansas) and Chrysler Museum of Art (Virginia) have commissioned major Lipman artworks. She is currently working on a major project with the Toledo Museum of Art (Ohio). Her work is held in permanent collections across the country, from the de Young Museum in San Francisco to the Brooklyn Museum in New York.