It’s an example of our cheap art essay writing! You can order your own assignment here. We can write cheap original paper fast!
The Public Art Work that I chose is a huge inverted-tree chandelier entitled “Sirshasana” created by Donald Lipski. This Public Art Work Donald Lipski completed in 1998 for Grand Central Terminal in New York marks another departure. Titled “Sirshasana”, it consists of a huge artiﬁcial olive tree, suspended upside down from the ceiling. The tree’s roots are covered in gold leaf, and 5,000 Austrian lead crystals hang from its branches. The tree itself was fashioned by “the world’s foremost artiﬁcial tree builder,” the fortuitously named Jonquil Le Master, and the pendant crystals were supplied by Swarovski of Austria.
Placed just inside the 43rd Street entrance to the newly opened Grand Central Market, the piece rapidly became the talk of midtown. Because it so completely fills the domed ceiling area above the entrance, its visual reception comes in stages. At ﬁrst, people may just see a fulsome chandelier, with thousands of crystals sparkling in the lights. Then they might see further into it, to the tree trunk and spreading branches, and eventually, the gilded roots secreted high up in the dome. Even though Le Master’s craft achieves a ﬂawless verisimilitude, most viewers will not recognize it at ﬁrst as an olive tree. And even if they do, what are they to make of the replacement of the tree’s oily fruit with lead crystals, or the gilding of the upended roots?
In this most recent public work, Lipski has moved from exploring the sculptural properties of a symbol to exploring the symbolic properties of a sculpture. The title refers to a yogic posture or asana that involves standing on one’s head. The inverted tree, with its roots in heaven and its branches reaching down to the earth — as a sort of bridge linking heaven and earth — is a primary image in both Indian and Judaic mystical traditions. It is described in detail in the earliest Indian scriptures, the Vedas and Upanishads (c. 900–500 b.c.). “The name given to the Indian asvattha, the tree of life,” writes Rosalind Krauss, “is sometimes quoted as urdhvamulam, ‘with roots toward the top,’ or, as we read in the Chandogya Upanishad, as nyagrodha, ‘growing downward.’” (Rosalind E., Krauss. The Originality of the Avant-Garde and Other Modernist Myths. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press. 1985) And in cabbalistic texts, it appears as the Sephirotic Tree. The thirteenth-century Zohar says: “The Tree of Life extends from above downwards, and is the sun which illuminates us all”. Meanwhile, Lipski’s contamination is growing to include ever more substance as he further explores the relation of symbol to object. At a time when the separation between contemporary art and its public seems to be widening daily, Lipski is ﬁnding new ways to make a public art that is neither condescending nor pandering, neither didactic nor empty.
“Sirshasana” is selected as a public sculpture because Lipski’s art is particularly well suited to contemporary postindustrial society, a society of plethoric overproduction, wealth, and waste. But his art is not plethoric. It is, rather, remarkably light on its feet, transforming glut into spare elegance. The work clearly responds more to minimalism than to pop, but with a twist. In his conclusion to a 1999 essay on Lipski’s work, David Rubin wrote: “Although minimalism was born of a disdain for metaphor and materials with associative value, Lipski has brought new life to its most cherished principles. In subjectifying minimalism, altering it as he does objects, Lipski has effectively transformed it from an art of the few into an art for the many. In applying minimalist aesthetics to familiar objects that tend to elicit a wide range of personal experiences, Lipski is essentially a benevolent populist.”
When viewers and critics dwell excessively on the work in Lipski’s “Sirshasana”, they are responding to the extraordinary quality of attention that is brought to bear in this work. Concentrating on this work alone is a way of avoiding or delaying the repercussive force of this attention, and the changes it might require of us. In an age of mass-produced mass culture (produced not by but for the masses), making things by hand has unavoidable political and social ramiﬁcations. It puts human beings in a direct, rather than hidden, relation to labor, and it is this hidden relation that makes our alienation from work and its use possible. Interrupting this hidden relation renders the human confrontation with matter palpable. But the overweening emphasis on the ﬁne facture of Lipski’s work occludes more than it reveals. His works look the way they do because they need to in order to mean what they do. The talent that is compressed into them allows them to work over time, and the time it takes to make them is the time taken to mean it.
Image of “Sirshasana” from
Rosalind E., Krauss. The Originality of the Avant-Garde and Other Modernist Myths. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press. 1985
David S., Rubin. “Donald Lipski and the Poetics of Plausibility,” in Donald Lipski: Poetic Sculpture, catalogue for an exhibition from March 13 to April 22, 1999, at Freedman Gallery in Reading, Pennsylvania.
Pradel, Jean-Louis. World Art Trends. New York: Harry N. Abrams Inc, 1999.