Donald Lipski, Tank Tread Heart (De-Accession from New Orleans Museum of Art), 1991
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Tank Tread Heart (De-Accession from New Orleans Museum of Art), 1991
Lipski's impressive, unique sculpture "Tank Tread Heart" represents the ultimate oxymoron. The heart is the softest organ - but here it's made with the harshest materials: the treads of a tank - each with the original stamped manufacturing number. The heart is the symbol of love; the tank the symbol of war. Lipski's work is literally transformative in that the instrument of war is re-cast as a symbol of love. The tank treads come together so seamlessly in the perfect heart shape - it's hard to even imagine their previous functionality. This profound work is a museum quality piece (it was de-accessioned from the New Orleans Museum of Art) and would look stunning in any private or public collection; indoors or outdoors. It makes an amazing gift of love for just the right person; perhaps a peace loving former military officer; a hopeless romantic who understands the bittersweet nature of love, war and life; a collector who appreciates the cleverness of this work - as a brilliant visual pun; or (our least favorite) an investor who appreciates the market for this important American artist.
Donald Lipski gained national recognition with his 1978 installation piece entitled “Gathering Dust,” in which he displayed over two thousand tiny sculptures, delicately tacked to the exhibition wall first at the New York gallery Artists Space, then at the Museum of Modern Art. Each small piece was created with tiny discarded objects like paper clips, matchsticks, and rubber bands. Initially driven by minimalists such as Sol LeWitt, Carl Andre and Donald Judd, Lipski found himself drawn to the pragmatism of working with found objects. His most celebrated works are composed of common items: books, milk jugs, tree branches, loose chandelier crystals, and a myriad other objects. As Leslie Kaufman writes in Sculpture Magazine, "Donald Lipski’s work embraces principles of democracy and inclusiveness. With the freedom to make art out of anything at all, he embodies American ingenuity and resourcefulness." In this lot, a tank tread is welded into the shape of a heart. The beauty of this piece and many of Lipski's works often comes from the diametric opposition of his materials and his composition, in this case a tank tread and a heart. Lipski, a lover of puns, instills his sculptures with a humor that cannot help but evoke light-hearted introspection.
Ref.: Kaufman, Leslie. “Appreciating the Physical World: A Conversation with Donald Lipski,” Sculpture Magazine 26.9 (2007): 28-35.
Provenance: Property of the New Orleans Museum of Art, Sold to Benefit the Acquisitions Fund.
Exhibition History: New Orleans Museum of Art