NCMA Recommends: Bride

Beth Lipman, Bride, 2010, glass, wood, paint, and glue, H. 120 x W. 90 x D. 90 in., Purchased with funds from Mr. and Mrs. Gordon Hanes in honor of Dr. Emily Farnham, by exchange

Bride, Beth Lipman’s five-tiered, 10-foot-tall, monumental still life contains more than 500 individual glass elements stacked carefully, knocked over, arranged thoughtfully, broken, melted, and shattered. Reminiscent of both a wedding dress and a cake, it’s also deeply connected to art historical traditions.–Jennifer Dasal, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art

Interchange: Beth Lipman Meets Frans Snyders

Recognizing the often-strict borders between art historical genres and time periods, NCMA curators have paired seemingly unrelated works of art in a series of installations titled Interchanges, meant to challenge and interrupt preconceptions. While the galleries remain closed, we deliver an interchange to your inbox, connecting Bride to a Flemish still life from the 1600s.

Like Bride, Frans Snyders’s Market Scene on a Quay (circa 1635—40) presents a densely packed and creative assembly of objects. Both works play with order and chaos, life and death, and stability and fragility, making them an engaging, if somewhat unnerving, pair. Artist Beth Lipman took direct inspiration from this painting, including one of the kittens and birds in Bride’s bottom tier. Snyders and his workshop invented this scene, combining meat and fish, items not sold together in marketplaces, and showcasing his ability to paint different surfaces and textures, which highlights his impressive artistic skill. Similarly, Bride presents a monumental collection of glass objects, demonstrating Lipman’s mastery of different glassmaking techniques.

Interchanges: Cross-Collection Conversations
Lipman, Bride
Snyders, Market Scene on a Quay

Beth Lipman, Bride, 2010, glass, wood, paint, and glue, H. 120 x W. 90 x D. 90 in., Purchased with funds from Mr. and Mrs. Gordon Hanes in honor of Dr. Emily Farnham, by exchange

Frans Snyders and Workshop, Market Scene on a Quay, circa 1635—40, oil on canvas, 79 5/16 x 135 1/4 in., Purchased with funds from the State of North Carolina

Still Life and Real Life

Bride’s multilayered still life alludes to the layers of a wedding cake, the flounces of an elaborate bridal gown, and still-life paintings throughout art history, with selected elements inspired by works in the Museum collection. (Can you spot a plate of fish that appears in Pieter Aertsen’s 16th-century market scene painting A Meat Stall or the 19th-century Ottoman Esther Scroll and Case from the Judaic collection?) Scroll through our Matrimony at the Museum Pinterest board to see how these celebrations for real-life brides (and grooms) were also inspired by the Museum collection.–Karlie Marlowe, Director of Marketing and Communications

Artist Interview

NCMA intern and UNC—Chapel Hill art history major Jordan Wolfe spoke with artist Beth Lipman about her past and upcoming works, exploring the ways in which time and society influence pieces like Bride. (We also discovered her love of masking tape, as she creatively improvised a video setup in her studio to chat with us!) Lipman details her conceptions of the “chasm between the ideal and reality,” as well as her process of creation through destruction.–Angela Lombardi, Director of Outreach and Audience Engagement

Local Artist Connection

Couture designer Austin Scarlett, who appeared on the first season of fashion design competition Project Runway, Project Runway All Stars, and spin-off series On the Road with Austin and Santino, talks from his home in North Carolina about all things fashion, sharing where he draws inspiration, the joy of seeing a finished gown on a client, and how a wedding dress comes together. Learn more from the designer in the video below.–Kat Harding, Assistant Director of Communications and Marketing

Glassblowing around the World

Glassblowing is an art form practiced all over the world. Here are some fun videos on how glassblowing is practiced in Mexico, Austria, and Italy.–Felicia Ingram Manager of Interpretation, and Cara Greene, Interpretation Intern

– Mexican artisans create a pitcher of similar shape to one seen in Bride.

– Thomas Medicus from Austria uses glass to create hidden images in his intricate sculptures.

– Artisans in Murano, Italy, have been making glass objects for over 1,000 years. Watch as they create a chandelier.

Penland Connection

The rich artistic tradition of North Carolina is exemplified in the Penland School of Craft, an educational arts center in the mountains, where artist Beth Lipman has taught glass workshops. The school’s workshops offer immersive, material-based learning and a supportive community, welcoming students of all skill levels. Artist residencies support full-time makers, and a beautiful gallery works to expand public understanding of craft. Learn more about Penland in the video below.–Angela Lombardi, Director of Outreach and Audience Engagement

A Puzzling Development

The demand for puzzles has emptied the shelves of many distributors and has driven this activity digital. While we sometimes wish we could create physical versions of our best-loved pieces, puzzle factories have yet to be listed as essential services, so we’ve created a puzzle for you to try on your screen at home. The 17th-century Market Scene on a Quay (Frans Snyders and Workshop) hangs next to Beth Lipman’s glass sculpture and served as a point of reference for many objects she included in her piece. Once you’ve finished the digital puzzle, you might be able to spot them on a future visit!–Angela Lombardi, Director of Outreach and Audience Engagement

Snyders-Market-Scene-on-a-Quay-52 9 113-HB-1024×595

Family Activities

Create a fantastical table scene using found images. Read along with a story about a girl glassblower. Find these and other ideas inspired by Bride at NCMALearn.–Courtney Klemens, Manager of Family Programs, and Emily Perreault, Pre-K Programs Educator

Educational Lesson Plan

In this NCMALearn lesson plan students will engage in sensory play and make a cardboard sculpture inspired by Beth Lipman’s Bride.–Emily Perreault, Pre-K Programs Educator

Here Comes the Headache

 – Bride brings to mind three films about seemingly perfect weddings that turn into spectacles of unraveling brides, shattered illusions, and revealing truths.–Maria Lopez, Manager of Film and Lecture Programs

– Wild Tales / Relatos Salvajes (2014). Director: Dami¡n Szifron. In this Argentinian anthology’s final segment, “Hasta que la muerte nos separe / Till Death Do Us Part,” a bride discovers a secret that drives her into a fit of rage. Rent on YouTube or Amazon.

– Melancholia (2011). Director: Lars Von Trier. The strained relationship of two sisters is put to the test at a wedding on the day that a mysterious planet threatens to collide with Earth. Rent on YouTube or Amazon.

– Rachel Getting Married (2008). Director: Jonathan Demme. Rachel prepares for her elaborate wedding while trying to deal with her recovering drug-addicted sister. Rent on YouTube or Amazon.

– Blown Away (2019). Reality show series where ten master artists compete in glassblowing sculpture challenges. Watch on Netflix.

Reading Recommendation

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens: Mirroring the excessive, decadent, and eternal presence of Beth Lipman’s Bride, Charles Dickens’s character Miss Havisham insists on wearing her wedding dress for the rest of her days.–Erin Rutherford, Library Assistant

Audio Description

The recording below is an audio description of Bride. Audio description is narration for individuals who are blind or have low vision. It is a means to inform them about visual content essential for comprehension.

Love’s Labors

Look closely at Beth Lipman’s five-tiered sculpture, and you will find that this glass “wedding cake” descends into chaos. Lipman describes glass as representing mortality: “It is strong and fragile, elusive and concrete, fleeting and eternal,” much like the complex emotion of love, both lamented and celebrated in this playlist we hope you enjoy.–Janette Hoffman, Acting Artistic Director and General Manager for the NCMA Amphitheater


May 22, 2020


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