October 31, 2000

The Cube in A²

EDITORS: Photos available on request.

ANN ARBOR—Subject to photographers' imagination, children's delight, and urban legend, the 15-foot high painted CorTen steel cube on the University of Michigan campus serves as an identifying landmark for both the university and city. Commissioned by the U-M Class of 1965 and officially titled "Endover," the revolving cube is one of three designed by U-M alumnus and sculptor Bernard "Tony" Rosenthal. It was installed on U-M's Regents' Plaza in 1968. The others are at home in New York City and Miami.

photo of Rosenthal's Cube seemingly held in tongs by a man in the foreground
The U-M's Cube is the focus of former U-M photographer Bob Kalmbach's imagination.

Seemingly massive (it weighs 2,400 pounds), the Cube will rotate on its axis with just a gentle push. Campus legend says that the president of the University gives it a ceremonial push each morning on the way to his office in order to get the University under way. The 8-foot square cube serves as a meeting place, identifying marker for those seeking University buildings, and a piece of playground equipment for children of all ages. The dimensions of the work were determined by the size of the truck available to transport the sculpture to Ann Arbor.

Rosenthal created another cube titled "Alamo," and had originally planned to install it at the Ann Arbor location, but students from Cooper Union near his New York display site petitioned to keep it there permanently where it became one of the first abstract sculptures to be permanently installed in New York City. The artist actually preferred the U-M cube to the New York version because he was able to revise and resolve the later design.

The cube at U-M and other works by Rosenthal are pictured and discussed in a new book by Sam Hunter titled "Tony Rosenthal." The book's preface is by award-winning playwright Edward Albee. Rizzoli, International Publications, Inc., publishes it.

Contact: Joanne Nesbit
Phone: (734) 647-4418
E-mail: mjnesbit@umich.edu