The University Record, November 6, 2000

Cube story picked up in new book

By Joanne Nesbit
News and Information Services

Paul Jaronski, U-M Photo Services, is featured in this file photo of the Cube, taken by Bob Kalmbach
Subject to photographers’ imagination, children’s delight and urban legend, the 15-foot-high painted CorTen steel cube serves as an identifying landmark for the University and city.

Commissioned by the Class of 1965 and officially titled “Endover,” the revolving cube is one of three designed by alumnus and sculptor Bernard “Tony” Rosenthal. It was installed on Regents’ Plaza (the open space bounded by the LS&A Building, Michigan Union and Fleming Building) in 1968. The others are at home in New York City and Miami.

Seemingly massive (it weighs 2,400 pounds), the Cube rotates on its axis with just a gentle push. Campus legend says that the president gives it a ceremonial push each morning on the way to his office in order to get the University under way. The eight-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. Its dimensions were determined by the size of the truck available to transport the sculpture to Ann Arbor.

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.

The University's cube and other works by Rosenthal are pictured and discussed in a new book by Sam Hunter, Tony Rosenthal (Rizzoli, International Publications Inc.). The book’s preface is by award-winning playwright Edward Albee.