Visual Arts

"Yearling" artist Donald Lipski speaks out on people moving his horse around

Three years ago, the original fiberglass horse from Donald Lipski's "The Yearling," who'd been keeping watch over the Denver Public Library since 1999 atop an incongruously giant red chair, stepped down. "Scout," as he'd been informally named, was swapped out in favor of an identical bronze clone of himself for conservation purposes; "The city had to do some touching up on the horse every few years," explains Donald Lipski, the artist of the piece, "so we decided a great solution would be to cast the horse in bronze, so it would never need any maintenance again." And so the old Scout went his way. His destination: the mayoral offices of John Hickenlooper.

Yesterday, he rode again.

Turns out, old Hick was such a fan of having the horse in his office as mayor that he wanted it hanging out with him as governor, too, so the city agreed to let him, via one of the oddest processions ever, carry it over to the governor's office. The move, it seems, comes as news to the Philadelphia-based Lipski.

"That's... interesting," he says, taking a moment to let it percolate. "I didn't know that, that he had moved it to the Governor's office. Huh." In the end, though, Lipski decided he sees it as a positive. "I like that he's grown so attached to it. Plus, probably the next time I'm in Denver, if I want to stop by the governor's office and visit him, I would probably be able to."

That visit might be forthcoming, actually, says Lipski, who happens to be fairly entrenched in Denver public art beyond just "The Yearling;" in addition to his work in the permanent collection of the Denver Art Museum, he also has an installation in the lobby of the Wellington Webb Building called "Tools," a five-story-tall agglomeration of various, uh, tools from fire-axes to computer screens. And last summer, he unveiled "Psyche," a giant butterfly with wings made from test tubes filled with colored resin that resides in the new Science Building of the Auraria Campus. Interestingly, Lipski notes, "The job of filling all these test tubes with resin was done by a local artist, John McEnroe. He has a big sculpture in town, I think called 'National Velvet.'"

Ah yes, the one by the 16th Street pedestrian bridge, better known to us as "Saggy Boob Electric Penis," an inspiring name for a piece of art if ever there was one. Literally, maybe.

Because right now, Lipsky's entered in a contest to put a sculpture in the new Justice Center, though he declines to give any specifics. "I'll keep it a secret for now." he says. "You know, it's a competition. I don't want to -- what's the legal term? Paint the jury?"

For now, he'll offer only this: "Maybe it'll be a Saggy Boob Electric Penis."

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Jef Otte
Contact: Jef Otte

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