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David Smith, Cubi XXVI David Smith
American, 1906-1965
Cubi XXVI, 1965
steel
Ailsa Mellon Bruce Fund 1978.14.1

In contrast to sculpture cast in bronze or carved in stone, constructed sculpture -- and particularly welded metal sculpture -- constituted a major direction taken by American artists after World War II. The work of sculptor David Smith emerged within the context of the New York School in the 1940s and 1950s. Smith said of his preferred medium, welded steel: "The metal itself possesses little art history. What associations it possesses are those of this century: power, structure, movement, progress, suspension, brutality." Smith most often created works in series, culminating in the 1960s with the "Cubis," which were made up of simple but monumental cubic or cylindrical shapes precisely crafted, assembled, and polished by the artist. "I depend a great deal on the reflective power of light," he said. Cubi XXVI achieves a dynamic equilibrium between the static nature of its looming geometrical components and the dramatic upward and outward thrust of its composition.next-arrow(13 of 17)next-arrow


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