Rubik's Cube in popular culture
The Rubik's Cube, a 1974 invention of Ernő Rubik of Hungary, fascinated people around the globe and became one of the most popular games in America in the early 1980s, having been initially released as the Magic Cube in Hungary in late 1977, and then re-manufactured and released in the western world as Rubik's Cube in 1980. As of January 2009 350 million cubes have sold worldwide making it the world's top-selling puzzle game. It earned a place as a permanent exhibit in New York’s Museum of Modern Art and entered the Oxford English Dictionary in 1982. The Cube retains a dedicated following, with almost 40,000 entries on YouTube featuring tutorials and video clips of quick solutions.
Film and television
The ability to solve a Rubik's Cube quickly is often used as a way of establishing a character's high intelligence. The films Brick, Armageddon, Nói the Albino, Chameleon Street, The Pursuit of Happyness, Dude, Where's My Car?, WALL-E, Let the Right One In, Let Me In, My Name is Khan, 3 Idiots, There's Something About Mary and Karthik Calling Karthik and the television shows The Carrie Diaries (TV series), Doctor Who, Everybody Hates Chris, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Seinfeld, and The Simpsons include sequences which depict this.
In the film Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian (2009), the lead character uses the "Cube of Rubik" as a ruse to deceive and slow the villain's progress.
Rubik, the Amazing Cube was a short-lived Saturday morning cartoon television series where the main character was a sentient Rubik's Cube. In the third season of Law & Order, Detectives Briscoe (Jerry Orbach) and Logan (Chris Noth) arrest a man who is playing with a Rubik's Cube on a bench. In the South Park episode "The Ring", a 4x4x4 cube can be seen on the cover of a magazine and in "The Coon" a Rubik's 3x3x3 cube is seen. In "Cube Wars", an episode from the television series Whatever Happened to... Robot Jones?, the students play with a changeable 4x4x4 cube called the Wonder Cube which is similar to the Rubik's Revenge. The Big Bang Theory features a tissue box that looks like a Rubik's Cube.
Comics and Manga
While the God's Number of a Rubik's Cube has been determined to be 20 by computer algorithms, in DC Comics Final Crisis crossover series, it is shown that a real god can solve it in less (with the actual number being 17). The time-traveling New God Metron is depicted with a cube; and the solving of a cube utilizing a God's Number maneuver of 17 results in a flash of blinding supernatural luminosity which destroys evil minions of Darkseid in the vicinity. In the manga and anime of Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun Yoshida Haru is seen to be solving a Rubik's Cube in episode 7. However, it is not shown that he has solved the Rubik's Cube in the episode or any other episode.
Liberty Science Center and Google are currently designing an interactive exhibit based on the Rubik's Cube. It will open at LSC in Jersey City, NJ, in April 2014 in celebration of the Cube's 40th anniversary before traveling internationally for 7 years. Exhibition elements include a 35-foot-tall rooftop cube made of lights that people can manipulate with their cellphones, a $2.5 million cube made of diamonds, a giant walk-in cube displaying the inner workings of the puzzle, and cube-solving robots.
The famous cube appears in Spice Girls - Viva Forever music video. The cube also appears in Maroon 5 - Payphone music video. It can be found (unsolved) on the desk of the banker in the official video. The cube also appears in If You music video by the italodance artist Magic Box.
In 1981, the British humorous pop group, The Barron Knights released a song called Mr. Rubik which appeared on their album entitled Twisting The Knights Away. The album's cover also depicts a Rubik's Cube which contains the photos of the band members on each smaller cube. The song is about a person who is going crazy after playing a Rubik's Cube.
A promotional Rubik's Cube featuring the four Julian Opie portraits of the band members of Blur was released in 2000 in promotion for the Blur: The Best of album (which also features the portraits on the cover)
Probably from the earliest days of the Rubik's Cube craze in the 1980s people have assembled cubes to form simple art pieces, several early 'Folk Artists' are noted for their work. Rubik’s Cubes have also been the subject of several pop art installations. Owing to their popularity as a children’s toy several artists and groups have created large Rubik’s Cubes.
Tony Rosenthal's Alamo ("The Astor Cube") is a spinnable statue of a Cube standing in New York City. Once the cube was covered with colored panels so that it resembled a Rubik's Cube. Similarly, the University of Michigan students covered Endover creating a large Rubik’s Cube on the University of Michigan’s central campus for April fool’s day in 2008. In conjunction with the 2008 April fool’s day cube covering, a student group created a large rotating non-functional Rubik’s Cube for the University of Michigan's North Campus. Built out of 600+ lbs. of steel, the cube was an entertaining addition to North Campus. Removed later the same semester, the cube reappeared in the fall of 2008 on the first day of classes. It was later removed, but in response to the cube, the university is planning on a permanent Rubik's Cube art installation on North Campus. Oversized Cube installations with staircases in them are found outside the 1980s-themed buildings of Disney's Pop Century Resort.
The largest Rubik's Cube sculpture to date, called Groovik's Cube, is 30 ft tall and was built by a team of artists in Seattle in 2009 for Burning Man. The piece is powered by LED lights and is fully interactive and playable, using electronic control stations.
Beyond the Folk Art of the 1980s and 1990s, and the simple replication of a Rubik's Cube in oversized form, artists have developed a pointillist art style using the cubes. Rubik's Cube Art a.k.a. Rubik's Cubism or RubikCubism makes use of a standard Rubik’s Cube, a popular puzzle toy of the 1980s. The earliest simple forms of the art probably occurred with independent “cubers” even in the first years after the cube became popular.
The earliest recorded artworks appear to have been created by Fred Holly, a legally blind man in his 60s in the mid-1980s. These early pieces focus on geometrics and color patterns. There does not appear to be other recorded art pieces until the mid-1990s by cube aficionados involved in the puzzle and game industry.
The Folk art form reached another level of its evolution with the development and maturity into a Pop art form consisting of pointillist Cube Art renderings. The street artist who uses the alias "Invader" or "Space Invader" started exhibiting pointillist pieces, including one of a man behind a desk and Mario Bros, using Rubik's Cube in June 2005 in an exhibition named 'Rubik Cubism' at Sixspace in Los Angeles. Prior to this exhibition the artist had used Rubik's Cubes to create giant Space Invaders. Another artist includes Robbie Mackinnon of Toronto Canada with earliest published work in 2007  who claims to have developed his pointillist Cube Art years earlier while being a teacher in China. Robbie Mackinnon's work has been exhibited in Ripley's Believe it or Not and focussed on using pop-art, while Space Invader has exhibited his Cube Art alongside mosaic Space Invaders in commercial and public galleries.
In 2010 artist Pete Fecteau created "Dream Big", a tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. using 4,242 officially licensed Rubik's Cubes. Fecteau also worked with the organization You Can Do The Rubik's Cube to create two separate guides designed to teach school children how to create Rubik's Cube mosaics from templates which he also created.
- Rubik's World History
- William Lee Adams (2009-01-28). "The Rubik's Cube: A Puzzling Success". TIME. Retrieved 2009-02-05.
- Alastair Jamieson (2009-01-31). "Rubik's Cube inventor is back with Rubik's 360". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 2009-02-05.
- "eGames, Mindscape Put International Twist On Rubik's Cube PC Game". Reuters. 2008-02-06. Retrieved 2009-02-06.
- Rubik's World Index
- "Cube Wars". Big Cartoon Database. Retrieved 2012-07-25.
- "God's Number is 20".
- Shaffrey, Ted (2012-04-27). "Cubism? Rubik helps with toy's anniversary exhibit". Associated Press (New York).
- Quenqua, Douglas (2012-08-06). "Rubik's Cube Twists Back Into Limelight". The New York Times (New York).
- The Rubik's Cube Designs of Fred Holly
- Rubik's Cube Art
- Moynihan, Colin (2005-11-19). "The Cube, Restored, Is Back and Turning at Astor Place". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). Retrieved 2009-03-18.
- "All Too Flat : Pranks : Cube". Retrieved 2009-05-29.
- Disney's Pop Century Resort: Walt Disney World Resort
- Groovik's Cube
- RUBIKCUBISM / A LOGICAL EXHIBITION OF INVADER AT SIXSPACE / LA. 2005
- Rubik Space By Invader
- Rubik’s Cube Art at Two Guys from Toronto
- You Can Do The Cube Official Site