Beth Lipman's masterpiece, acquired by the Renwick Gallery in 2007, is a 20-foot-long oak table cluttered with the aftermath of a decadent dinner party. Rendered entirely in glass -- some 400 pieces, including glass rodents -- it wasn't originally meant as interactive art. But it has turned out that way.
Inspired by still-life painting, Lipman's work contains an implicit critique of excess. A lobster and a broken glass bowl seem to have been knocked to the floor by a careless guest. According to Renwick chief Robyn Kennedy, hardly a week goes by without museum guards having to reassure some nervous visitor who swears, "It was like that before I walked in the room."
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