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Amy Lipton.
Amy Lipton.

Amy Lipton (1956–2020)

Curator, gallerist, writer, and nonprofit director Amy Lipton, who operated a namesake gallery in New York’s SoHo and cofounded the ecological art nonprofit ecoartspace, died of cancer on December 6.

Lipton was born in Philadelphia in 1956. After receiving her BFA from CalArts in 1980, Lipton briefly worked as the art director of the pornographic magazine Hustler before making the move to New York City. Six years later, she would open Loughelton, her first commercial gallery, with artist Barbara Broughel in SoHo. In 1990, Lipton became the venue’s sole proprietor, changing its name to Amy Lipton Gallery (it would later become Lipton Owens, on Mercer street). During its ten years of programming, the space introduced audiences to artists such as Polly Apfelbaum, Mel Chin, Karen Finley, Amy Sillman, Carol Szymanski, Sue Williams, and many others. Lipton also designed the poster component of Kathe Burkhart and Chrysanne Stathacos’s The Abortion Project, 1991, a pro-choice installation that travelled from New York’s Artists Space to New Langton Arts, San Francisco; Real Art Ways, Hartford, Connecticut; and Hallwalls, Buffalo.

When the gallery closed in 1996, Lipton and Patricia Watts cofounded ecoartspace, a nonprofit that supports artists whose work addresses environmental issues. Together, they organized exhibitions, public programming, and activist-artist interventions into sites of ecological trauma. Around the same time, Lipton began to work as a consultant for SoHo’s Lombard Freid Gallery; she later took the post of assistant director at Chelsea’s Tony Shafrazi Gallery. From 2004 to 2008, Lipton was a staff curator at the Abington Art Center and Sculpture Park in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania. She then assumed the director role of the Fields Sculpture Park at the Omni International Arts Center in Ghent, New York, which she held for two years. In 2014, she resumed her curatorial work under the moniker LiptonArts with a series of shows at spaces including Elga Wimmer Gallery, New York.

Exhibitions guest curated by Lipton include “Ecovention” at the Contemporary Art Center, Cincinnati, with Sue Spaid (2002); “Imagining the River” at the Hudson River Museum, Yonkers, New York, with Watts (2003); “Body Line Motion” at the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, New Paltz, New York (2010); and “Learn a River’s Name” at the Nickels Building, Philadelphia (2018). Her public art projects “BiodiverCITY” (2012), and “TRANSported” (2014), took place in Washington, D.C. and New York, respectively. She is survived by her daughter Kadence Luella Neill; her sister Jane Lipton; her brother Andrew Lipton; and her life partner, Jim Polk.