Photo: Nash Baker
Donald Lipski, Down Periscope, 2016. Buffalo Bayou Park. Cistern
Funding Source: City of Houston General Services Department and the Department of Public Works and Engineering
New York artist Donald Lipski’s much-anticipated installation Down Periscope, which sits atop the Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern, opened to the public in May 2016. Through Down Periscope, park visitors are able to peer into the 87,500-square-foot expanse, dubbed the Cistern, and its 25-foot tall, slender concrete columns that stand row-upon-row.
The seven-foot Down Periscope is housed in a covered stainless steel arbor with jasmine, creating a shady, welcoming space for experiencing the installation.
The site is a former City of Houston underground drinking water reservoir and has been renovated by Buffalo Bayou Partnership (BBP) with a grant from The Brown Foundation as a public space that will also house temporary, environmental art installations.
The interior view of the Cistern is accessible online, allowing the entire world to see inside a modern archeological find.
“When I visited the park, I had an entirely different idea in mind for a sculpture. But then I learned about the Cistern,” said the artist Lipski. “I was able to descend into this mysterious, subterranean treasure. Its grandeur, utilitarian structure, symmetry and majesty astounded me. The idea of a periscope sprung to mind. Usually, as an artist, I’m making a thing to look at, to experience. Here, the thing is the Cistern. I’ve merely made a tool."
ABOUT DONALD LIPSKI
Originally from Chicago, Lipski is known for his enigmatic, poetic sculptures, often made from common, recognizable objects. His sculptures have been shown in galleries and museums around the world as well as in public spaces. Lipski’s public art pieces can be found in other Texas cities including F.I.S.H., Riverwalk, San Antonio (2009); Intimate Apparel and Pearl Earrings, Fort Worth Convention Center (2005); and The Cloud, just completed in El Paso. His work is in the permanent collections of dozens of major museums, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Whitney Museum of American Art, The Corcoran Gallery of Art, and in Houston at The Menil Collection and the Museum of Fine Art, Houston.