David Smith made the Cubi series between 1961 and 1965. Comprising tightly stacked geometric forms, these works constituted for the artist a new process for the formulation of his sculpture; using cardboard boxes, he cut out cubes, disks, and cylinders and combined them into maquettes that he translated into monumental structures of brushed stainless steel. For Cubi III, Smith stacked variously sized rectangles in an eight-foot-tall anthropomorphic arrangement. The sculpture’s burnished surface evinces the circular hand motions the artist employed to achieve the finish, which both plays with light and alludes to the gestural qualities of Abstract Expressionist painting.
David Smith (b. 1906, Decatur, Indiana; d. 1965, Bennington, Vermont)
Cubi III, 1961
95 1/2 x 33 x 19 in.
The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
Partial and promised gift of Beatrice and Philip Gersh