Director, Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts
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Dr. Irving Lipton was instrumental in developing the careers of leading figures in wood art and bringing attention to their work. As these individuals in turn had a major impact on the field, Dr. Lipton’s value as a patron of the arts was invaluable.
“I viewed writing The Cutting Edge, Contemporary Wood Art and the Lipton Collection to be a tremendous responsibility,” says the book’s author, Kevin Wallace. “Dr. Lipton’s legacy was so intimately intertwined with the legacies of the artists, and I sought to accurately record the history of the contemporary wood art field.” Toward this end, Wallace created a work that is essentially an oral history of the field of contemporary wood art, told by the artists who created the field, and with commentary by museum curators and directors.
From his first acquisitions, Dr. Lipton saw the importance of sharing the works. At any given time over the decades, large numbers of works from the collection were touring internationally. He ultimately donated a large portion of his collection to a number of organizations and institutions. The largest number of works are divided between five museums across the United States: The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu, Long Beach Museum of Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and Yale University Art Gallery.
The 220 plus color plates in this handsome 214 page book trace the evolution and emergence of the field of contemporary wood art over the last quarter of the twentieth century, when many of those who are now considered the elder statesmen of the field were beginning their careers. Dr. Lipton collected work as it was being created, from the early 1970s through the beginning of the new century, and focused on the artists with whom he maintained personal relationships. As a result, the collection became a repository of work, documenting the evolution of specific artists as well as the larger field. Ultimately, the collection is defined by Dr. Lipton’s interest in the cutting-edge of contemporary wood art.
Kevin Wallace is the Director of the Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts in Ojai, California. He is a regular contributor to numerous international publications and has guest-curated exhibitions for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Craft and Folk Art Museum, Los Angeles, the Long Beach Museum of Art, the Cultural Affairs Department of Los Angeles, Los Angeles International Airport and the San Luis Obispo Art Center. Previous books include Celebrating Nature: Craft Traditions/Contemporary Expressions, Transforming Vision: The Wood Sculpture of William Hunter, 1970-2005, River of Destiny: The Life and Work of Binh Pho, and Moulthrop: A Legacy in Wood. Wallace has co-authored a number of books, including New Masters of Woodturning: Expanding the Boundaries of Wood Art, The Art of Vivika and Otto Heino, Contemporary Turned Wood: New Perspectives in a Rich Tradition, Baskets: Tradition and Beyond, and Contemporary Glass: Color, Light & Form.