On view


American, 1906–1965
Cubi XXI, 1964
Stainless steel
9 ft. 11 in. x 33 3/4 in. x 34 in. (302.3 x 85.7 x 86.4 cm)
Gift of The Lipman Family Foundation, jointly owned by Storm King Art Center, Mountainville, New York and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
Art © The Estate of David Smith/ Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY
Photo by Jerry L. Thompson
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 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.

Other works by this artist
Albany I

Albany I, 1959

Becca

Becca, 1964

Raven V

Raven V, 1959

The Iron Woman

The Iron Woman, 1954–58

Volton XX

Volton XX, 1963