Art Appetizer: Tony Smith’s “Die”

“The industrial environment captivated him more that evening than many smaller sculptures and colorful paintings he had seen and previously admired in art galleries. The large looming unlit shapes combined mystery with power.” –ArtNet

Tony Smith is one of the most famous Abstract Expressionist sculptors in the U.S. Although he is often pinned as being a Minimalist sculptor, he was part of abstract expressionism. He began his career as an architectural designer and eventually became a teacher of design. Today’s Art Appetizer features one of Smith’s first pieces, “Die.”

"Die," Smith (1962)

Here’s the 1-2-3 on Die:

  1. Essentially, Die is a six-foot black cube made of steel. It’s dimensions come from Leonardo da Vinci’s study of human proportions, The Vitruvian Man.

    "Vitruvian Man," Leonardo da Vinci

  2. Smith didn’t physically create this piece himself. He took a sketch of the cube to a welding company in New Jersey.
  3. After this piece, Smith began create geometrical sculptures and displayed them in his yard. Today, his pieces are featured in cities across the United States. For example, a sculpture called Last, a 35-foot-high, 75-foot-wide orange arch, is located in downtown Cleveland.

    "Last," Smith

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