Grand Central Terminal


Donald Lipski
Artwork in mixed media by Donald Lipski showing an upside-down tree.
“Sirshasana” (1998) by Donald Lipski at Grand Central Terminal. Photo: Rob Wilson

About the artist

In "Sirshasana," a sculptural chandelier in the shape of a golden-rooted olive tree suspended above the street-level entrance to the Grand Central Market, Donald Lipski drew upon Hindu and Greek lore. "To the ancient Greeks the olive tree symbolized freedom and purity," he explains. "And the name Sirshasana refers to a yoga headstand posture — the inverted tree...." With branches that span 25 feet and 5,000 brilliant crystal pendants, the tree dominates the area, bringing the feel of an outdoor market. The space was designed so that morning sun bathes the tree and floods the market with light. The form has writhing, enticing, and unexpected elements, with the base of the tree finished in gold and crystals dangling in place of olives, in addition to alluding to the decorative chandeliers in Grand Central, the tree is a comment on the allure of the exotic and tempting wares sold in the marketplace. 

About the artist

Donald Lipski is a sculptor who creates large-scale sculptural installations in public places. His work explores how context transforms meaning through a whimsical combination of materials and site. Over the course of his career, he has been awarded the National Endowment of the Arts for both Sculpture and Conceptual Art. Additionally, he was granted fellowships with the New York Foundation on the Arts and the Guggenheim. His work is included in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and many other institutions. He holds a BA from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and an MFA from the Cranbrook Academy of Art, Michigan.