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Trilogy by Alexander Liberman stands tall above two mountain bikers among the rolling green hills at Tippet Rise Art Center.

Summer programs and new artwork installations

August 7, 2023

While the concert season has yet to begin, we have been enjoying a beautiful symphony created by the sounds of summer at Tippet Rise – laughter among visitors, gravel beneath the feet of hikers and bikers, a warm summer breeze blowing through tall grasses, creeks flowing, and meadowlarks singing.

Last month, new sculptures by seminal artists Louise Nevelson and Alexander Liberman were installed. Louise Nevelson (1899-1988) was born in Ukraine and emigrated to the United States with her family in 1905. Her 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. Nevelson was also 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. 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.

Alexander Liberman (1912-1999) was also born in Ukraine. Through his father’s connections, he left the Soviet Union in 1921 for England and then Paris, where he began his career in magazine editing. Liberman left Europe for New York in 1941 during the German occupation and began working for Vogue magazine. He would later become Editorial Director of all Condé Nast publications worldwide, a position he held until 1994. From a young age, his mother encouraged Alex to paint and draw and around 1950, concurrent to his publishing career, he began making sculpture. 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. Both Trilogy and Archway II seem right at home under the big Montana sky.

In addition to these two new sculptures, guests have been able to enjoy the more than a dozen artworks installed throughout our 12,500 acres and fifteen miles of trails. At the end of a long excursion, they have no doubt been happy to rest and refuel with the wonderful provisions Asano Otsu and her team from the Red Lodge-based Samurai Sue’s Everyday Foods have prepared again this year, including grain and protein bowls, wraps and sandwiches, and their unforgettable ginger molasses and chocolate coconut cookies!

Throughout July, our partners at YBRA (Yellowstone Bighorn Research Association) returned to lead three geo-paleo tours, where participants gained an understanding of the geological and paleontological wonders that are visible across the art center. Poised at the convergence of two vastly different regions – the Beartooth Mountains and the great Plains – there is a great deal of evidence of the geologic processes that formed this region, from fossilized marine life to ice-age gravel deposits. For anyone interested in learning more, a complete guide to the geology of Tippet Rise is available to pick-up in our Visitor Center.

At the end of June, we welcomed back Montana InSite Theatre for their second annual walking theatre tour at Tippet Rise. This year’s program, “Leaf-Taking: Shakespeare on the Rise,” marked the 400th anniversary of the publishing of Shakespeare’s First Folio. Performers presented scenes, monologues, and songs that brought Shakespeare’s words into dialogue with the surrounding landscape and artwork.

Lastly, our first “after-hours” tours commence this month, providing an opportunity for guests to experience the magic of a summer sunset at Tippet Rise. We look forward to continuing to find new ways to engage with visitors each year!

All photos by James Florio