Boca Museum of Art Names Irvin Lippman Executive Director

07/14/14
Boca Raton Museum of Art

Lippman’s Mission is to Create an Exciting Cultural Home Relevant and Integral to Residents, Visitors & Future Generations

BOCA RATON, FL – The Boca Raton Museum of Art Board of Trustees announces the appointment of Irvin Lippman as Executive Director. 

"We are thrilled that Irvin has agreed to become our director.  We realized by working with him during the past several months that he is a natural fit for our museum.  His experience and relationships in South Florida, and across the art world, are vast and he fully appreciates and is so passionate about art in our community.  The future of the Boca Raton Museum of Art has never been in better hands and the potential for development and engagement is boundless," says Dalia P. Stiller, President of the Board of Trustees.

Mr. Lippman first joined the Boca Raton Museum of Art in February 2014 as Interim Director.  “I feel very fortunate to have been selected as the director of the Boca Raton Museum of Art.  The Board of Trustees and the staff are creating opportunities here that are extraordinary and limitless.  We have a beautiful building in a thriving neighborhood and an impressive and growing collection,” says Irvin Lippman.

Mr. Lippman’s goal is to, “bring a larger and more diverse audience to our Art School, offer more opportunities for local artists to meet and share their talents through our Artists Guild, and make sure that the Museum is a forum for dialogue, conversation, and self-education.”

From 2003 to 2012, Lippman was the Director of the Museum of Art, Fort Lauderdale, Nova Southeastern University.  He spearheaded exhibitions that garnered critical acclaim and record audiences, positioning the institution as the “best-attended art museum in South Florida.” 

The exemplary exhibition schedule included: Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of Pharaohs; Cradle of Christianity: Jewish and Christian Treasures from the Holy Land; Chicano Visions: American Painters on the Verge, and Old Master Paintings from the Uffizi Gallery.

In 2004, he inaugurated the Museum’s Artist-in-Residence Program that invited talented artists to guest curate and to create site-specific installations.  A 20,000 square-foot Studio Arts School and Education Center was developed in 2010 to offer classes in photography, ceramics, sculpture, weaving, and other multi-media disciplines.  Simultaneously, Lippman brokered an innovative partnership with Coral Gables-based Books & Books that brought local and nationally recognized authors to the Museum, a program that stimulated conversations in the literary and visual arts.

Beginning in 2005, Lippman directed a major renovation project at the Fort Lauderdale museum, working with architect Margi Glavovic to redesign the lobby and create a signature plaza that serves as a public art-filled forum for residents and visitors.  A striking staircase and bridge, constructed to accommodate the more than 6,300 daily visitors during the King Tut exhibition, now serves as the centerpiece of that plaza.  The transformation of the museum, completed in 2010, coincided with the opening of outdoor café and the installation of public murals by artists including Roberto Behar and Rosario Marquardt, Jen Stark and Arturo Herrera.

In 1994, Lippman was named Executive Director of the Columbus Museum of Art (Ohio), where he directed a critically acclaimed exhibition program that included Landscape as Metaphor: American Contemporary Art; Chihuly Over Venice; and Illusions of Eden: Visions of the American Heartland.  He established important collaborations with sister organizations including Dresden, Germany’s Gamäldegalerie Alte Meister, resulting in the organization of Dresden in the Ages of Splendor and Enlightenment: 19th Century Paintings from the Old Masters Picture Gallery.

During his tenure in Columbus, Lippman spearheaded and developed numerous innovative and important programs and assets for the Museum, including the launch of Gallery One in 1995 to focus on contemporary art, and the opening of the Richard M. Ross Photography Center in 1996.  He led the rehabilitation of the 86,000 square foot facility and completed an award-winning master plan in 2001 in consultation with the New York architecture firm of Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer.  Trailblazing acquisitions were made during Lippman’s eight years in Columbus, including commissions by Mel Chin, Ilya Kabakov, Alison Saar, and Dale Chihuly, as well the purchase of The Host, an important wooden sculpture by Elie Nadelman; and a group of 170 photographs from the 1930s and 1940s by members of New York’s Photo League.  An extraordinary collection of Pre-Columbian sculptures was also added to the museum’s holdings during Lippman’s tenure.

In Columbus, where he emphasized children and school programs, Lippman mounted an interactive exhibition Eye Spy: Adventures in Art, which was named a national model for education in the arts.  Other achievements included the initiation of a Collectors Forum for local art collectors, the establishment of the African American Cultural Committee, and the inauguration of the Museum Associates, which established monthly after-hours events that attracted thousands of first-time visitors to the Museum.

Before his appointment in Columbus, Lippman was on staff at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art in Fort Worth as Public Affairs Coordinator, and later as the Carter’s Public Affairs and Publications Officer (1983-1988).  As Assistant Director from 1988 until his departure in 1994, Lippman served on the curatorial committee, chaired the publications committee, and strategically managed the museum’s development, fundraising, and public affairs departments as well as the Museum store and the building and grounds departments.

In 1975, he began his first job out of graduate school at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., where he worked in various departments before becoming a Lecturer in the Education Department (1977-1982). 

Lippman received his BFA from the University of Denver and his MA in Art History from the University of Texas at Austin.  He was born and raised in Schulenburg, Texas, and currently resides in Boca Raton, Florida.

Founded in 1950 by the Art Guild of Boca Raton, today the Museum’s collections, innovative exhibitions, and educational programming are international in scope and reflect the creative expression of the Florida region.  In 2001, the Boca Raton Museum of Art moved into its new home in the heart of Mizner Park.  The Art School, located nearby on West Palmetto Park Road (the Museum’s original location), offers more than 100 classes in a variety of media for adults and children.  The Guild remains a strong auxiliary of the Museum with more than 350 artist-members who actively exhibit throughout the area and whose work may be seen at the Artists’ Guild Gallery on Atlantic Avenue in Delray Beach.

Upcoming special exhibitions include: the 63rd Annual All Florida Juried Competition and Exhibition (August 9 - October 18, 2014); Theresa Bernstein: A Century in Art (November 11, 2014 - January 11, 2015); a video installation by photographer Shizuka Yokomizo (November 11, 2014 - January 11, 2015); Surrealism and Magic (January 26 - April 5, 2015), and Helena Rubenstein: The Power of Beauty (April 21 - July 12, 2015).

For additional information please visit the website at www.bocamuseum.org.

Editor’s Note:  High-res images available upon request.