Alamo (sculpture)

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Alamo
Just another Alamo afternoon.jpg
(2010)
Artist Bernard (Tony) Rosenthal
Year 1967
Type Bronze
Dimensions 2.4 m × 2.4 m × 2.4 m (8 ft × 8 ft × 8 ft)
Location Astor Place traffic island, Lafayette Street at 8th Street, Manhattan, New York
Coordinates Coordinates: 40°43′48″N 73°59′28″W / 40.73000°N 73.99111°W / 40.73000; -73.99111

Alamo, also known as the Astor Place Cube, or simply The Cube, is an outdoor sculpture by Bernard (Tony) Rosenthal, located on Astor Place, in the East Village, Manhattan, New York City. It takes the form of a black cube, 8 feet (2.4 m) long on each side, mounted on a corner. The cube is made of Cor-Ten steel and weighs about 1,800 pounds (820 kg). The faces of the cube are not flat but have various indentations, protrusions, and ledges. The sculpture's name, Alamo is designated on a small plaque on one corner of the base and was selected by the artist's wife because its scale and mass reminded her of the Alamo Mission.[1][2]

History[edit]

Installed in 1967 as part of the "Sculpture and the Environment" organized by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the Cube was one of 25 temporary art installations that were intended to remain for a six-month period, however local residents successfully petitioned the city to keep the Alamo. It has since become a popular meeting place in the East Village.[1][2][3][4] It stands in the middle of an intersection, across the street from both entrances to the Astor Place station of the New York City Subway 4 6 <6> trains and the Cooper Union building.

The Cube can be spun on its vertical axis. One person can push it slowly with some exertion, and two or more people without difficulty.

On March 10, 2005, the Parks Department removed the Cube for maintenance. The original artist and crew replaced a missing bolt, and made a few other minor repairs. A makeshift replica of pvc tubes named the Jello Cube in honor of Peter Cooper was placed in its stead. As of November 2005, the Cube returned with a fresh coat of black paint, still able to spin.[1]

Alamo is one of five similar cubes created by Rosenthal.[5] The identical Endover stands on the campus of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where Rosenthal earned a bachelor of fine arts degree. The cube was donated by the class of 1965 and was installed in 1968. The "Endover" cube also rotates but its pivot is sunken into the ground, as opposed to the pivot of the Alamo, which is on a separate platform.[6][7]

Pranks[edit]

  • In June 2003, the Cube was the subject of a prank played by the ATF squad (All Too Flat) in which it was turned into a giant Rubik's Cube.[1] The cube stayed up for about 24 hours before NYC maintenance removed the painted cardboard panels from the sculpture.[8]
  • In March 2006, the Graffiti Research Lab distributed LED throwies to a group of people to throw onto and decorate the Cube.[9]
  • In April 2006, a tub of chalk was left by the Cube and passersby began to draw on it. Seven individuals were later arrested for vandalism. The chalk was washed off by NYC maintenance the following morning.[10]
  • In October 2011, the visual artist Olek (Agata Oleksiak) made a crochet covering with her signature camouflage pattern over the cube.[11]
  • On December 14, 2011, Caltech students covered the cube in a fitted cloth, making it resemble the Weighted Companion Cube from the video game Portal.[12]
  • In October 2013, a fake documentary video went viral claiming to show that a man lived inside the cube.[13]

References[edit]

Notes

  1. ^ a b c d Moynihan, Colin (November 19, 2005). "The Cube, Restored, Is Back and Turning at Astor Place". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-03-18. 
  2. ^ a b Grimes, William (August 1, 2009). "Tony Rosenthal, 94, Sculptor of Public Art". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-07-17. 
  3. ^ "Astor Place Cube Will Stay in Place". The New York Times. November 23, 1967. p. 33. Retrieved 2010-07-17. 
  4. ^ Bleyer, Jennifer (January 30, 2005). "A Famous Cube Puzzles Its Biggest Fans". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-07-17. 
  5. ^ "Tony Rosenthal Cube Sculptures" on the Tony Rosenthal website
  6. ^ "The Cube in A²". University of Michigan. October 31, 2000. Retrieved 2010-07-17. 
  7. ^ "The Cube "Endover"". University of Michigan. Retrieved 2010-07-17. 
  8. ^ "Astor Cube". All Too Flat. Archived from the original on 21 July 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-17. 
  9. ^ "LED Throwies II". Graffiti Research Lab. Archived from the original on 10 July 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-17. 
  10. ^ "Astor Cube Attacked with Chalk". Gothamist. April 2, 2006. Retrieved 2010-17-17. 
  11. ^ "Street Artist Olek Hits Astor Place in New York City". YouTube. Retrieved 2011-12-24. 
  12. ^ Woody Loverude (14 December 2011). "Photos: CalTech Prank Club Blankets The Astor Place Cube". Gothamist. Retrieved 14 December 2011. 
  13. ^ "Astor Place Cube Hoax"

External links[edit]