The Beartooth Portal
Created in 2015 by Ensamble Studio, the Beartooth Portal was literally cast from the land beneath it: two large concrete forms dug from the earth on which the sculpture now stands.
The Beartooth Portal (2018-05-18) by James Florio, PhotographerTippet Rise Art Center
Ensamble Studio's works at Tippet Rise are equal parts concert space, sculpture, and land art.
Structures of Landscape
The Beartooth Portal is the first of three sculptural structures created at Tippet Rise by Ensamble Studio.
Partners Antón García-Abril and Débora Mesa lead the team at Ensamble Studio that blurs the lines between land, art, architecture, structure and sculpture. Using found materials, their work transcends architectural boundaries and time periods to produce a pure and direct emotional impact. Learn more at www.ensamble.info.
Tractors and the largest cranes in Montana were used to assemble the Beartooth Portal, which is made of a mix of earth, rock and concrete. Just one slab weighs almost a half a million pounds.
The renowned Anderson & Roe Piano Duo perform beside the Beartooth Portal. They later wrote, "We adore the juxtaposition of the man-made elements—Ensamble Studio’s stunning, sky-high sculpture; a sleek Steinway Model D; and Liz’s outrageous gown—against Montana’s rugged, rolling hills."
The Beartooth Portal (2016-07-16) by Erik Petersen, PhotographerTippet Rise Art Center
Of Ensamble Studio's sculptures, Peter Halstead, the cofounder of Tippet Rise wrote, "they emerge autochthonously from the earth, visceral manifestations of nature."
The Beartooth Portal (2017-08-12) by Erik Petersen, PhotographerTippet Rise Art Center
The Beartooth Portal measures 32' 6 1/2" x 25' 3 1/4" x 26' 5 1/2 "
Placed atop knolls and nestled into canyons across the art center's 12,000 acres, the sculptures of Tippet Rise can be toured each summer by van, bike or foot.
The Beartooth Portal in Detail (2017-09-09) by Erik Petersen, PhotographerTippet Rise Art Center
The Beartooth Portal's texture was formed by the wrinkles in the plastic tarp that held the concrete in its form as it cured.
The Beartooth Portal (2017-10-16) by James Florio, PhotographerTippet Rise Art Center
The primitive vocabulary, rawness and geological qualities of Ensamble Studio's sculptures were inspired by the landscape around them.
The Architect's Newspaper calls Ensamble Studio's sculptures at Tippet Rise "earth-born." Slate says, "They look like they've always been there."
Named for the mountains to the south of Tippet Rise, the Beartooth Portal serves as a sort of "wormhole," says Peter Halstead, or "window" into the wild landscapes that surround and shape us.
The Beartooth Portal at Night (2016-07-08) by Yevgeny Sudbin, PhotographerTippet Rise Art Center
The Milky Way streams across the Montana sky; the Beartooth Portal reaches to meet it.
The Beartooth Portal (2019-02-21) by Erik Petersen, PhotographerTippet Rise Art Center
The Beartooth Portal "serves as a curious druid beacon..."
-National Geographic Traveler.
Viewed from different perspectives—from directly beneath the structure, or from a distance, with the Crazy Mountains in the background—the Beartooth Portal's size seems to shift in the shimmering Montana light.
Photography by: James Florio, Erik Petersen, Emily Rund, Yevgeny Sudbin
Writing by: Alexis Adams
Exhibit by: Emily Rund, Sarah Lanier
Sculpture by: Ensamble Studio
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Peter & Cathy Halstead
Co-Founders of Tippet Rise