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.
Accompanying this significant sculpture project will be the artist’s survey exhibition, All in Time, which will open Saturday, June 25, 2022.
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.
Living History is generously supported by the F. Price Cossman Memorial Trust, INTRUST Bank, Trustee.