Last week we noted that a gigantic tire that served as a ferris wheel during the ’64 World’s Fair now resides outside of Detroit — turns out, it’s not the only New York monument that can be seen (in slightly altered form) in Michigan.
The Astor Place cube seems as uniquely NYC as the Statue of Liberty. But just like you can also find Lady Liberty in the Jardin du Luxembourg, there’s a near replica of the cube in Ann Arbor — and it’s not the only one out there.
Sculptor Tony Rosenthal was an alum of University of Michigan; after he brought Alamo to the East Village in 1967, he gave one to his alma mater in 1968. Like its predecessor, the one located on Regents’ Plaza is 15′ x 15′ x 15′, is made of painted CorTen Steel, serves as a meeting place for students, and, yes, was once turned into a Rubik’s cube — but the Michigan one is titled Endover and rather than sitting on a base it’s built right into the ground. It seems to spin a bit more easily than its Astor Place counterpart, which might be why the university’s president is said to give it a whirl on his or her way to work every day.
According to the University Record, the Astor Place cube was originally going to be moved to Ann Arbor after what was to be a temporary exhibition in New York, and its dimensions were determined by the size of the moving truck.
Rosenthal created another cube titled ‘Alamo,’ and had 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. The artist actually preferred the U-M cube to the New York version because he was able to revise and resolve the later design.
So the Astor cube wasn’t even his favorite? Ouch.
Funny enough, Endover isn’t even the only Rosenthal cube in Michigan — there’s also a smaller one inside of the Cranbrook Art Museum. Other outdoor cubes are located in Hamilton, OH; East Hampton, NY; Miami, FL; and New London, CT. Scouting NY even spotted one “on some guy’s lawn” in Westchester.
But whatever, that guy’s lawn isn’t a few steps from the new Barcade.