Donald Lipski – Pieces of String too Small to Save

The installation “Pieces of String too Small to Save” was installed in the lobby of the Brooklyn Museum from May 20, 1993 through September 5, 1993.  The mountainous pile on the floor was the leftovers from collecting cultural flotsam and jetsam in New York City for over twenty years.  The mass was loosely arranged with like objects near like objects.  On the wall behind the pile certain objects were pulled out of the detritus and hung as icons (or special specimens).  All these objects, packed up on sixty pallets, were all moved out of his studio in Brooklyn by three tracker trailers.  The move of his collection was prompted by the birth of his first son and the need for a new home.  When moving some ‘cleaning’ and subsequent discarding of un-needed objects happens, which leads to the title of this piece, “Pieces of String too Small to Save.”  These were objects that he had no use for anymore; only most families on the move do not have an art museum to store their junk.

Lipski’s objects in this installation were much different than his previous objects that were characteristically combined and altered in a type of surrealist juxtaposition.  In the combined sculpture a trumpet may be displayed with its bell down and a lit candle stuck in the mouthpiece.  This type of sculpture and installation is maybe best typified in his piece called “Gathering Dust” where Lipski would combine whatever object he could find readily at hand whenever he was eating, commuting or any other time of relative rest.  “Gathering Dust” exceeds over three hundred unique small sculptures.

On collecting his objects Lipski says, “I’m interested in things that are beautiful, but I couldn’t tell you what makes them beautiful.”  His process of collecting is more personal and subjective than structured and regimented to a certain ‘type’ of object.  Although some of the categorization of his objects shown in “Pieces of String too Small to Save” hints to what some of his favorite and most collected objects are.

Adam Farcus

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