The prominent contemporary sculptor Donald Lipski used disparate objects
and materials to assemble The Cauldron, a major installation which spanned
the Transept and Collection galleries in the Museum. The work employed
high-tech equipment from chemical processing plants, flowing water and
burned trees from the summer '96 fire in the pine barrens of nearby Westhampton.
Lipski is well known for his spectacular installation works, such as Black by Popular Demand (1990), made of intersecting 40-foot American flags for the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.; and Pieces of String Too Short to Save (1993), an installation in the lobby of The Brooklyn Museum, containing four truckloads of art materials leftover from his Brooklyn studio.
Born in 1947, Donald Lipski belongs to a generation of artists influenced by the postwar movements of minimalism and conceptual art. His preoccupation with found and industrial materials dates back to the early 1970s. In a series of works titled Gathering Dust, Passing Time, and Building Steam, it is the action of the artist - scattering, pouring and weaving materials together - which gives form to the sculptures. Says Lipski, "art is about making things. You go into the world and you make a mark, a tangible proof that you exist."
In the mid 1980s, Lipski began working on a larger scale, establishing collaborations with major corporations. The Bells (1991), a collaboration with the Verdin Bell Company for The Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, utilized over one hundred bells, along with church steeples, a steel jail, and nuns' habits.
Lipski's artworks come into being by joining, everyday things: a dead Christmas tree with an aluminum walker, church steeples with silk chiffon. In this process, his artworks become wondrous objects, animated by the viewer's own set of presumptions and experiences.
The Cauldron was curated by Diane Shamash, former Director of the Seattle Public Arts Program, currently Executive Director of Minetta Brook, a public art organization in New York City. This exhibition was made possible, in part, with generous support from The Berger-Mittlemann Family Foundation, and through the Exhibition Fund.