David Smith: Cubes and Anarchy

Solo en Inglès

Art historian and David Smith biographer Michael Brenson, art historian Sarah Hamill, sculptor Charles Ray, and Peter Stevens, director of the David Smith Estate discuss a selection of works from the exhibition David Smith: Cubes and Anarchy. The audio guide also includes commentary by sculptor David Smith.

David Smith, Fifteen Planes, 1958

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Peter Stevens: Fifteen Planes elevates an array of rectilinear forms, burnished stainless steel, above our eye level on two tall verticals. 

Narrator: Peter Stevens.

Peter Stevens: It's a kind of a play on our notion of sculpture and the necessity that sculpture has to have a way of supporting itself against gravity. His desire to have an uplift and a kind of defying gravity in a lot of his sculptures had to be mediated by the fact that they did actually have to answer to the laws of gravity.

So this sculpture is a form of play on that upward thrust, that sense of motion, that sense of twirling that, with a few elements relating to the right angles of gravity and then the rest seemingly randomly flung into space, we have both aspects of what he sees as the limitations and the freedom that sculpture affords him.

Peter Stevens: Fifteen Planes elevates an array of rectilinear forms, burnished stainless steel, above our eye level on two tall verticals. 

Narrator: Peter Stevens.

Peter Stevens: It's a kind of a play on our notion of sculpture and the necessity that sculpture has to have a way of supporting itself against gravity. His desire to have an uplift and a kind of defying gravity in a lot of his sculptures had to be mediated by the fact that they did actually have to answer to the laws of gravity.

So this sculpture is a form of play on that upward thrust, that sense of motion, that sense of twirling that, with a few elements relating to the right angles of gravity and then the rest seemingly randomly flung into space, we have both aspects of what he sees as the limitations and the freedom that sculpture affords him.


David Smith (1906–1965), _Construction in Rectangles_, 1955. Painted steel, 78 x 10 7/8 x 10 ½ in. (198.1 x 27.6 x 26.7 cm). Collection of Almine and Bernard Ruiz-Picasso. © The Estate of David Smith/VAGA, New York. Photograph courtesy Galerie Gmurzynska, Switzerland