Earlier this year, I finished an incredibly exciting commission that took over six months to complete and pushed my work into totally uncharted territory: I produced my first stainless steel spinning cube. Commissioned by Desarrolladora del Parque in Mexico City, the cube is housed in the lobby of their Loma Cantabria building. Each side of the steel rods is a different color, and the cube features six colors total: red, yellow, blue, green, purple and silver. As the cube spins, the colors gradually shift to create a shimmering optical effect and sensations of expansion and contraction. It is displayed on a diagonal access, which gives the work an added dynamic energy and maximizes the viewer experience of the changes in color.
As this was the first time I had ever worked in stainless steel, there was a lot of research and design that went into the cube’s production. First, I needed a fabricator. Anne-Marie Russell of MOCA Tucson and the Sarasota Museum of Art, with whom I worked on my first major institutional exhibition at MOCA in 2013, recommended Dave Lewis, an artist and fabrication specialist in Brooklyn. With Dave Lewis on board, the next step was designing a screw that could be used in the cube’s assembly. We needed 3,000 very small, special screws in order to fasten the rods together, which were eventually fabricated by US Micro Screw in California.
Dave Lewis produced a primary version of the cube that measured 10 5/8” on each side and was colored silver, blue and yellow. Once he completed this prototype, we were ready to begin on the larger piece. We used 300 stainless steel rods to construct the 2-foot cube. GT Machine & Tool Company in Long Island City drilled holes in each rod using a CNC router machine, so that the rods could be screwed together. Dave Lewis then applied color to each side of each rod in Tom Lendvai’s wood work studio in Bushwick, in what was a laborious and painstaking process.
The motor for the spinning cube and the fork to attach the cube to the motor also needed to be built to exacting specifications. Jarred Metz, in Red Hook, fabricated both of these items with an astounding level of precision and skill. With 3 rotations per minute, the motor’s cycle is perfectly timed for the most visual impact.
Once we had all of the pieces in place, we were ready to assemble the cube. It took Florencia Minnitti, Eduardo Abraham and myself 70 hours to screw the rods together, and the resulting cube weighed 40 pounds. Enrique Macotela, architect and partner at Desarrolladora del Parque, designed a mirrored base for the artwork, and local engineer Javier Torices fabricated the base. I installed the completed cube and the base with Florencia Minnitti in February during the ZONA MACO art fair, and it remains on permanent view at Loma Cantabria.
It was absolutely fabulous to work with Dave Lewis as the fabricator and also with Jarred Metz, who designed several generations of motors in service of this project. A very special thanks also goes to the fantastic Enrique Macotela, Enrique Tellez, Enrique Enciso and Jorge Henriquez of Desarrolladora del Parque both for their continuous support, and for hosting the initial cocktail party with Raiza Larios during which I first proposed the kinetic sculpture. This project was a major accomplishment for me, and it represents an exciting new direction in my practice. Now that the cube has been unveiled, I’m looking forward to continuing to work in steel and metal and to see where else these materials will take me. There were many photos taken over the realization of the cube in order to document the project, and I hope you will enjoy perusing them below.