Ball? Ball! Wall? Wall!, 1994
55 steel marine buoys
65 x 65 x 3600 inches
Laumeier Sculpture Park Collection, gift of Terri Hyland

Donald Lipski’s work explores how context transforms the meaning of ready-made objects through a whimsical combination of materials and site. Lipski’s approach to art is mainly conceptual; he seeks to express ideas not only through the flaked rust of his chosen material, but also to invite speculation by way of the associations that viewers might make in response to them. Ball? Ball! Wall? Wall!, 1994, is a 300-foot long sculpture in which Minimalism’s simplicity of form and Surrealism’s scale shifts and object placement collide in an unexpected landscape.

Lipski also mines the humor and irony commonly found in Surrealism, an approach that merges the bizarre and the mundane as he treats examples of monumental industrial production as if they are smaller, consumer products. Ball? Ball! Wall? Wall! resembles a row of soccer balls, office desktop toys or a pearl necklace, but the parts are recycled steel ocean buoys, each one five feet in diameter and weighing 650 pounds. This formerly sea-worthy, but now land-locked, reclamation project embodies Lipski’s interest in combining what he calls “stuff.” In Lipski’s act of “reassembling the world,” the collision of the beached marine forms and their association with smaller objects become the artist’s way of thinking through the inner world of play and the outer world of reality.

Sculpture Interaction Guideline: Look, But Do Not Touch


Donald Lipski was born in 1947 in Chicago. He earned his B.A. in 1970 from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and his M.F.A. in 1974 from the Cranbrook Academy of Art, Michigan. Lipski has been the recipient of grants and awards from the National Endowment of the Arts in 1978, 1984 and 1990; the New York Foundation for the Arts in 1986; and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation in 1988. He has exhibited in galleries and museums including Galerie Lelong and the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the American Academy in Rome; the New Orleans Museum of Contemporary Art; and the Fort Worth Art Museum. Lipski's work is represented in many collections, including the Brooklyn Museum of Art; the Chicago Art Institute; the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Panza Collection, Italy; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego. In 2005, he was part of a traveling group exhibition at Laumeier entitled Traveling Terrain: A Sculptural Exploration of Landscape and Place.

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