Amy Lipton - »A Suburban Woodland Oasis: Abington Art Center«
From 1986 to 1995, Amy Lipton was the owner and director of Amy Lipton Gallery, a contemporary art gallery in Soho, New York. Since 1997, Lipton's focus has been on art addressing ecological issues. Her curatorial project Ecovention, (2002) was an international exhibition with 32 ecological artists, at the Contemporary Art Center in Cincinnati, Ohio for which she also researched and edited the accompanying 160-page catalogue. Lipton was Guest Curator of Imaging the River, (2003) an exhibition focusing on contrasting historical and contemporary artists' views of the Hudson River, at the Hudson River Museum in Yonkers, NY. Lipton also organizes and participates on panel discussions, lectures, and events. She has been working with The Nature Conservancy and New York City Audubon since 2004 presenting a series of discussions with artists and scientists, "Human/Nature: Art and the Environment". Lipton's recent writing includes a chapter in the 2003 publication, Aesthetics of Ecology. Environmental Design by Art, Birkhäuser Publishers, Basel/Berlin/Boston. Currently Lipton is Curator for the Abington Art Center and Sculpture Park in Jenkintown, PA, eleven miles north of Philadelphia.
A Suburban Woodland Oasis: Abington Art Center
Abington Art Center's 27-acre Sculpture Park site is one that traces its history back to William Penn in 1697. In the early 1800s the site consisted of several small farms and a country estate, named Alverthorpe. In 1939, the estate was bought by Lessing J. Rosenwald, the chairman of Sears and Roebuck.
The landscape has gone through a cycle over the last 300 years from pristine woodland, farmland, estate garden and arboretum to a mowed lawn surrounded by a woodland area in distress. Common to many other densely populated areas, the native plant habitats of Alverthorpe have become overgrown with invasive plants which can better adapt to the stressful conditions created by suburban development. Two very common and prolific inhabitants-Canadian Geese and deer cause additional problems and negatively impact the health of the ecosystem.
In 1990, Abington Art Center established its Sculpture Park inviting national and regional artists to build works of art specifically for Alverthorpe's landscape. An outcome of this activity has been many environmentally based installations with artists including Winifred Lutz, Stacy Levy, Steven Siegel, Roy Staab and Brandon Ballengee. Their works often cross over into the realms of landscape architecture, geology, biology and environmental science and can present ideas to the public in innovative and interactive ways. By adding ecological art Curator Amy Lipton to the staff in 1994, Abington Art Center has been committed to this environmental focus in the evolution of its Sculpture program.