Donald Lipski is a sculptor known for his poetic combining and altering of existing things and for his enigmatic installation works. Since coming to prominence with his Museum of Modern Art installation Gathering Dust in 1979—thousands of tiny sculptures pinned to the walls—his work has been shown in galleries and museums around the world. He is represented in the permanent collections of dozens of museums, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Whitney Museum of American Art, The Menil Collection, and The Chicago Art Institute. He has been written about extensively, and is included in the college text The History of Modern Art, by H. H. Arneson.
He is the winner of many awards and honors, including The Guggenheim Fellowship, three National Endowment for the Arts Awards, and The Academy Award of the American Academy of Arts & Letters, and The Rome Prize.
In recent years he has also created many prominent and compelling public sculptures. His artworks have been repeatedly cited by Art in America as among the "Best Public Art of the Year", and regularly included in The Public Art Network's "Year In Review." His public projects have been both overwhelmingly popular with the general public and garnered critical acclaim. The sculpture, Sirsashana, created for New York's Grand Central Terminal in 2000, began a stream of inventive and ground-breaking works for airports, schools, libraries, sports stadiums and other public sites. Many of his pieces have become icons and touchstones for their communities, and "must-see" experiences for visitors.
Lipski was born in Chicago in 1947, and grew up in suburban Highland Park, Illinois. He studied American History at the University of Wisconsin, Madison (B.A., 1970), and Ceramics at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan (M.F.A., 1973). He taught at the University of Oklahoma, Norman, and at Cooper Union in New York, and has lectured at more than 100 colleges, universities and art schools and museums. He has lived his adult life in New York City, Sag Harbor, NY, Philadelphia and Rome, Italy. His time now is split between New York City and the East End of Long Island.
"The weight of art history can be ballast or burden. What is primary is concealed in the mid-brain, locked in the genetic code, grounded in childhood and woven through the cloth of culture. What is central to art is making. It is an act more of faith than of understanding. I am more at home wandering than marching to a goal."
From: Awards In The Visual Arts 3 catalog, 1984
“As an heir to the Surrealist tradition, the sculptor explores how context transforms the meaning of found objects, and he possesses the knack at composing fantastical stories from unexpected combinations of materials. What sets Mr. Lipski above most others who have pursued this well-trodden path is the quirky, inventive quality to the problems his work poses and the strange, graceful eloquence of his solutions.”
He is represented by Galerie Lelong, New York City.