Sunday, January 13, 2013

Sculptor Lyman Kipp: a master of trabeated structures

L: Lyman Kipp (b. 1929), Muscoot, 1967, Calvin College Campus, Grand Rapids, Michigan
Painted steel 168 h x 72 w x 48 d
This piece, characterized as a dolmen, was featured in a 1979 solo exhibition titled, The Work of Lyman Kipp, at Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan, and is now in the Calvin’s permanent collection.
©Lyman Kipp, all image rights reserved. photograph by versluis 2013.
R: Muscoot (maquette), 1966, painted wood in original color scheme from a work included in the 1967 American Sculpture of the Sixties show in Los Angeles, 14 x 6 x 4 in. Image from Minus Space.

Earlier we published a piece about minimal sculpture and mentioned the 1966 exhibition, Primary Structures: Younger American and British Sculptors, Jewish Museum, New York. This seminal exhibition of the “New Art” featured the works of Sol LeWitt, Donald Judd, Ellsworth Kelly, Dan Flavin, Judy Chicago, Robert Smithson, and Lyman Kipp, to name just a few.

L: Lyman Kipp, Zephyr, Sculpture Off the Pedestal Show, 1973, Grand Rapids
R: Study for Zephyr, 1973, Grand Rapids Art Museum
This rendering indicates the red and blue, automotive paint, color scheme of Calvin College’s Muscoot. Images from the Lyman Kip website.

This is the Sculpture Off the Pedestal exhibition catalog cover design (9¾"–12"), which is indicative of the International Style graphic design (so-called Swiss Style) and was the predominant graphic design style of corporate culture of the period. The Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM) published the catalog in 1973 as a didactic and guide for the exhibition. The catalog’s introductory essay was written by Barbara Rose. The catalog contained biographical notes about the artists and their exhibition histories and collections as well as 51 b&w illustrations and a map of the various sculpture locations throughout downtown Grand Rapids.

One of the reasons it was exciting being an art student in Grand Rapids, Michigan in the early 70s was because of this major outdoor sculpture exhibition displayed around the city. “In 1973, [the ambitious exhibition] Sculpture Off The Pedestal was organized by the Women’s Committee of the Grand Rapids Art Museum. This innovative exhibition installed contemporary large scale outdoor sculpture, by thirteen American artists, in public places throughout the city. The exhibition was supported by a grant from the NEA and won regional and national attention.”

The Grand Rapids Art Museum is currently displaying a few maquettes from the exhibition. The Sculpture Off the Pedestal exhibition offered a foretaste to the Meijer Sculpture Gardens and to the ArtPrize competition as public art venues.

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