Creating unique relationships between land and sky

Alexander Calder

Alexander Calder poses at Roxbury studio in1947 with his sculpture Armada, created in 1946.

Calder with Armada (1946), Roxbury studio, 1947. Photograph by Herbert Matter © Calder Foundation, New York.


Alexander Calder, whose illustrious career spanned much of the twentieth century, is one of the most acclaimed and influential sculptors of our time. Born in a family of celebrated, though more classically trained artists, Calder utilized his innovative genius to profoundly change the course of modern art. In the 1920s, he began by developing a new method of sculpting: by bending and twisting wire, he essentially “drew” three-dimensional figures in space. He is renowned for the invention of the mobile, whose suspended, abstract elements move and balance in changing harmony. From the 1950s onward, Calder devoted himself to making outdoor sculpture on a grand scale from bolted sheet steel. Today, these stately titans grace public plazas in cities throughout the world. Two Discs and Stainless Stealer by Alexander Calder are on gracious loan to Tippet Rise from the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Smithsonian Institution’s museum of international modern and contemporary art, located on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Learn more at

Patrick Dougherty

Photo: Just For Looks, 2006. Max Azria Melrose Boutique, Los Angeles, CA. David Calicchio

As one of today’s most admired living sculptors, Patrick Dougherty composes with nature—wielding saplings and sticks to build monumental structures that echo, play and tussle with the land. Dougherty has literally worked with nature at Tippet Rise, crafting sculpture from local willows. He returned to the art center in 2022 to make a companion piece for his 2015 work, Daydreams. At the heart of both pieces is a reproduction 19th-century schoolhouse. The new work, Cursive Takes a Holiday (2022), adds an installation of intertwining branches to the outside of the schoolhouse, creating a series of circular spaces that visitors can step inside and out of, while Daydreams features woven branches connected indoors and out.
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Francis Kéré

Known for engaging communities and creating structures sympathetic to their natural environment, Francis Kéré is among the vanguard of architects working today, and was the recipient of the 2022 Pritzker Architecture Prize. His work is globally recognized for their debt to African vernacular architecture and their relationship to the unique sites they inhabit. At Tippet Rise, Kéré has created Xylem (2019), a gathering pavilion, inspired by the wooden and straw toguna structures sacred in Dogon communities in West Africa. Named to evoke the vital internal layers of a tree’s living structure, Xylem is constructed of locally and sustainably sourced ponderosa and lodgepole pine. Here, visitors to Tippet Rise are encouraged to gather to converse or contemplate the views or sit and meditate in solitude. Learn more at

Ensamble Studio

Partners Antón García-Abril and Débora Mesa lead the team at Ensamble Studio that blurs the lines between land, art, architecture, structure, and sculpture. Using found materials, their work transcends architectural boundaries and time periods to produce a pure and direct emotional impact. At Tippet Rise, Ensamble has created structures cast from the land that map a constellation on the land. The 26-foot-tall Beartooth Portal (2015) was made from the ground beneath it, composed of two vertical rocklike forms that stand approximately 25 feet apart at ground level and lean together at the top. The similarly designed 22-foot-tall Inverted Portal (2016) and creates equal parts shelter, sculpture, and landscape. The 98-foot-long, 13-foot-tall Domo (2016) was acoustically designed for superior sound projection for outdoor performances. The Folds (2022), a series of 16 ghostly chairs cast from malleable concrete canvas, are installed across the art center, including at the site of Ensamble Studio’s other works. Learn more at

Isabelle Johnson

Isabelle Johnson, whose family homesteaded part of the Tippet Rise property for much of the 20th century, was among the first and most influential Modernist artists in Montana. She studied painting and sculpture at Columbia University and Skowhegan. Her large collection of paintings from the 1940s through the 1990s capture the essence of living and working on the rugged natural landscape that surrounded and inspired her. Johnson was an educator too, having taught at Eastern Montana College in Billings from 1949 to 1961. When she died in 1992, she bequeathed her land to Montana State University to serve educational and agricultural purposes. As a working sheep and cattle ranch, Tippet Rise continues to honor that intention through a wide variety of opportunities for learning, listening, interpretation, and inspiration, including educational outreach programs for students ranging from elementary school-age through university and graduate students.

Alexander Liberman

Alexander Liberman looks at the viewer in this artist portrait

Alexander Liberman was born in Kiev, Ukraine in 1912. His father was an economist and lumber expert who advised the Tsar and then following the revolution, Lenin. His mother started the State Theater for Children in the Soviet Union. Through his father’s connections, Alex left the Soviet Union in 1921 for England and eventually studied at the Sorbonne in Paris. He began working at VU magazine in 1932.

With the German occupation of Paris, Liberman left Europe for New York and secured a job in the art department of Vogue in 1941. In 1962 he was appointed Editorial Director of all Condé Nast publications worldwide, a position which he held until 1994 and through which he. was influential in shaping the cultural landscape of post-war America.

From a young age, his mother encouraged Alex to paint and draw. Around 1950 he started making sculpture and in 1959 he learned to weld. Many of his sculptures were assembled from industrial objects, often using circular oil drums. After his ground-breaking show at the Storm King Art Center in 1977, he was widely received as one of America’s foremost artists.

At Tippet Rise, Archway II is sited in a dramatic saddle, serving as a metaphoric gateway to the Beartooth Mountain range in the distance. Like many of his monumental sculptures, it is painted a striking red, and is illustrative of Liberman’s lifelong fascination with altars and arches which draw viewers into their sacred spaces.

Louise Nevelson

Louise Nevelson (1899-1988) was one of America’s foremost artists. Born in Ukraine, she emigrated to the United States with her family in 1905. Nevelson’s sculpted wood and steel assemblages, which she painted in one color, most notably black, brought a Mayan connection with both land and sky into the vocabulary of American art. She went on to use other materials, such as aluminum and Plexiglas. Nevelson was well-known for her iconic persona and style, which she viewed as an extension of her art. At Tippet Rise, Trilogy (1978) is set in a gently rising valley just beyond the Cottonwood Campus, closer to the broad landscape which Nevelson had hoped for. The work is comprised of three large-scale pieces, made of Cor-Ten steel, steel, and aluminum. Towering 44 feet high at its tallest point, the work evokes a family unit or a trio of entities in varied stages of growth and development.

Wendy Red Star

A portrait of artist Wendy Red Star

Wendy Red Star lives and works in Portland, Oregon. Her work has been exhibited in the United States and abroad and is in over 60 public collections. An enrolled member of the Apsaìalooke (Crow) Tribe, Red Star works across disciplines to explore the intersections of Native American ideologies and colonialist structures, both historically and in contemporary society. At Tippet Rise, The Soil You See… is one of the first works guests encounter at the art center, and is in significant dialogue with the land, which sits within the traditional sacred land of the Apsaìalooke. Standing at 8-feet tall and featuring a large piece of glass depicting a red thumbprint, the work is inscribed with the names of 50 Apsaìalooke nation chiefs and tribal representatives who signed land treaties with the U.S. government between 1825 and 1880, oftentimes using their thumbprint or an X rather than their names. Learn more at

Mark di Suvero

Widely recognized as one of the most influential artists of his generation to emerge from the abstract expressionist era, Mark di Suvero revolutionized the world of sculpture and profoundly influenced fields such as modernist architecture, design, and land art. His large-scale steel sculptures, breaking away from the walls of museums, are meant to be experienced outside. His work transcends time and space, opening ideas about the relationship between art and nature. Tippet Rise is proud to present three of di Suvero’s works: Proverb (2002), a meditation on the tiny tools we use to measure infinity, Beethoven’s Quartet (2003), a clever commentary on the composer’s seminal work, and Whale’s Cry (1981-1983), a whale caught in the moment of breaching into another dimension. Juxtaposed against the Beartooth Mountains, di Suvero’s pieces offer viewers a dialogue of Titans, between Earth and Sky. In 2020, Tippet Rise and The Red Panel produced a series of poetry films featuring di Suvero. Learn more at

Stephen Talasnik

With ongoing installations around the world, sculptor Stephen Talasnik describes himself as a structural artist. Inherently site specific, he draws inspiration from imaginary architectural model structures, which he materializes into natural sculptures that fold into and accentuate the contours of the surrounding landscape. At Tippet Rise, Talasnik created Satellite #5: Pioneer to bring NASA’s mapping of the sky down to earth. Models of his proposed sculptures for Tippet Rise, Galaxy and Archaeology, are on display in the Olivier Music Barn.
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Marie Watt

Photo by Sam Gehrke

Marie Watt is an American artist and a member of the Seneca Nation of Indians with German-Scot ancestry. Her interdisciplinary work draws from history, biography, Iroquois proto-feminism, and Indigenous teachings; in it she explores the intersection of history, community, and storytelling. Through collaborative actions she instigates multigenerational and cross-disciplinary conversations that might create a lens and conversation for understanding connectedness to place, one another, and the universe. At Tippet Rise, her wall-hanging Companion Species (Floating and Held) (2022), is the first work to greet guests as they arrive at the Visitor Center within the Olivier Music Barn. Made of reclaimed satin bindings, industrial felt, tin jingles, and cotton twill, this textile work depicts a sunset in the clouds and evokes the sense of comfort, warmth, and healing that a blanket provides as it is gifted and passed down from birth until the end of life. Learn more at

Ai Weiwei

Photo courtesy of Ai Weiwei Studio

The contemporary artist Ai Weiwei is world renowned for creating timely and striking multifaceted pieces in a range of mediums such as sculpture, installations, film, performance, and photography. His conceptual works make strong aesthetic statements that resonate with current phenomena across today’s geopolitical world. At Tippet Rise, his work Iron Tree stands on a rise and, from a distance, blends seamless into the landscape. The work is composed of 97 different iron elements interlocked using tenons and mortise keys, symbolizing individualism within a larger society. Learn more at