Stainless-steel sculpture, on view through January 8 in Whitney exhibition David Smith: Cubes and Anarchy, is part of artist’s iconic Cubi series.
David Smith (1906–1965), Cubi XXI, 1964. Stainless steel, 119 ½ x 43 × 37 ½ in. (303.5 × 109.2 × 95.3 cm). The Lipman Family Foundation. © The Estate of David Smith/VAGA, New York. Photograph by Jerry L. Thompson; courtesy the Lipman Family Foundation
Storm King Art Center and the Whitney Museum of American Art today announced the acquisition of Cubi XXI, a 1964 sculpture by preeminent American artist David Smith (1906–1965). A key work from the artist’s celebrated Cubi series (1961–1965), the large-scale, burnished stainless-steel sculpture is a gift to the two institutions from the Lipman Family Foundation. The late Howard Lipman, a trustee of both Storm King and the Whitney, and his wife, the late Jean Lipman (editor of Art in America from 1940 to 1970, and a Whitney staff- member in the 1970s), were together great supporters of the arts. Their son, Peter Lipman, and daughter-in-law, Beverly Lipman, continue in that role.
Adam D. Weinberg, Alice Pratt Brown Director of the Whitney, stated, “The gift of David Smith’s Cubi XXI from Beverly and Peter Lipman means so much to us. The Lipman family has been among the Whitney’s greatest benefactors over the years, and this gift represents a continuation of the family’s extraordinary generosity.
From 1966 on, Peter’s parents, Howard and Jean Lipman, donated magnificently to the Museum, giving us more than 100 sculptures and helping to create one of the strongest collections of postwar American sculpture in the world. It is thrilling to receive this masterwork as a testimony of support for our new downtown building, where we look forward to showing it. We are delighted to partner with our good friends at Storm King. I cannot sufficiently thank Peter and Beverly and the Lipman Foundation for honoring us so greatly.”
John P. Stern, President of Storm King, noted, “Storm King is deeply grateful to Beverly and Peter Lipman and the Lipman Foundation for this exceptionally generous gift. We are delighted to share this extraordinary work with the Whitney, enabling ever greater numbers of people to experience it. David Smith’s work has been an integral part of Storm King’s collection for more than four decades. In 1967, when Storm King co- founder Ralph E. Ogden saw Smith’s work sited outdoors at the artist’s home and studio, in Bolton Landing, New York, he was inspired to recast the young Art Center (originally envisioned as a museum devoted to the Hudson River School) as a place to present sculpture in the pastoral landscape. The subsequent acquisition of thirteen Smith sculptures transformed Storm King’s collection, which, for more than a decade, has been enhanced by the Lipmans’ thoughtful loan of Cubi XXI.”
Peter Lipman added, “My parents were personal friends of David Smith, and considered him, along with Alexander Calder, to be the greatest American sculptors of the 20th century. Our family feels strongly that Cubi XXI should be on view in public spaces, and no more appropriate places exist than the Whitney Museum and Storm King Art Center. We are delighted that these two wonderful institutions have been willing to accept shared stewardship for the future.”
Standing nearly ten feet tall, Cubi XXI is one of twenty-eight large-scale, geometric, stainless-steel sculptures within the Cubi series made by Smith between 1961 and 1965. The Cubi series, compositions of prefabricated geometric forms that Smith welded together, are widely viewed as among the artist’s greatest works. Composed so that 3 the individual elements of the works appear to shift when viewed in relation to each other, the Cubi sculptures are informed by some of the essential qualities of Cubist painting. In addition to Cubism, the Cubi sculptures recall Smith’s earlier use of abstract figuration. Cubi XXI, for example, evokes classical sculptures in which a human figure leans against a vertical support such as a tree or decorative element.
Cubi XXI is on view at the Whitney Museum of American Art through January 8, 2012, in the special exhibition David Smith: Cubes and Anarchy. It will then return to Storm King Art Center, where it had been on long-term loan since 2001, and will be reinstalled on Museum Hill in time for the Art Center’s 2012 season (April 4 through November 25).
The Whitney looks forward to presenting Cubi XXI in its new downtown building, which is slated to open in 2015. The two institutions are in the process of finalizing arrangements for sharing the work.
The Whitney Museum is located at 945 Madison Avenue at 75th Street, New York City. For general information, please call (212) 570-3600 or visit whitney.org
Storm King is located in the historic Hudson River Valley, in Mountainville, New York, approximately one hour north of New York City. For more information or to plan a visit, the public may go to www.stormkingartcenter.org.