Assemblage - Cubi XII | Artopia

David Smith

A Closer Look

Cubi XII has straight lines and angles, making it an excellent example of geometric three-dimensional form. It balances without falling over even though the form is not the same, or symmetrical, on both of its sides. It is the weight distribution that allows it to stand on its own. Collect several small boxes and tape them together so that the two sides balance each other. You may want to spray paint your sculpture with metallic paint when you are finished.

About the Sculpture

David Smith often made sculptures in series, so that they all looked related. Cubi XII is part of his last great series of large outdoor sculptures. It is over nine feet tall and is made of stainless steel boxes welded together. The steel is scratched or abraded in order to reflect the light in a special way. Cubi XII is an abstract geometric form. Smith was more interested in making interesting designs than realistic figures. Although many sculptors use assistants, he usually did all the work himself.

About the Artist

David Smith studied art at several different schools but he learned to weld metal by working at an automobile plant. He started his artistic career painting on canvas, until Pablo Picasso's metal sculptures inspired him to become a sculptor. His studio was near a factory that made machine parts, so it was easy for him to find pieces of steel to weld together. He liked to think of sculpture as "drawing in space."


Write About It

  • Make a list of what you see.
  • How did the artist use the elements and principles of design?
  • What do you think the sculpture means? How does it make you feel?
  • Select two sculptures to compare & contrast.