Three Red X Within X
Not on view
Acrylic and carbon pencil on canvas, three parts
Overall: 109 7/8 × 109in. (279.1 × 276.9 cm)
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase, with funds from the Painting and Sculpture Committee
Rights and reproductions
© Robert Mangold / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
In 1980, Robert Mangold began his X series, completed the following year. Like his earlier geometric paintings, these works are composed of simple, yet sophisticated combinations of colors and forms that he first explored through sketches. The X series, however, marks the first time that Mangold focused exclusively on the cruciform shape. Three Red X Within X and the other works in the series are fashioned out of multiple panels that the artist joined together to create a unified composition; pencil-drawn lines run across the sections, linking together the panels and rendering them visually continuous. In his previous work, Mangold had incorporated x forms within a larger composition; by shifting to a format in which the entire canvas is shaped into this symbol, the X series recalls modernist precedents—especially the Russian Constructivists and de Stijl painters, who sought to integrate their geometric canvases into the space of the viewer, creating a universally accessible aesthetic language.