Steel, painted black
6'8" x 6'8" x 6'8"
Edition 3/3
The Museum of Modern Art, New York
Photo by Tom Powel

“On the day of Scott Carpenter’s orbital flight-Aurora VII-May 24, 1962, we were talking about gyroscopes and looking at a gyro encased in a one-inch-diameter cylinder  one inch long. With its rate switch, the overall was just about the size of an Alka-Seltzer bottle. We were discussing the problem of designing a package of three gyros  one for each axis of navigation. For easier manipulation, I got three Alka-Seltzer boxes. There didn’t appear to be any particular solution independent of installation, so we gave it up. Putting the boxes down on the table, I strung them end to end along the three axes. When alone, I took another look and decided to have it fabricated. This was ten days after the Black Box had been delivered and was already showing signs of rust. I was very tired, and at the time of this decision I didn’t consciously realize that the links formed the edges of a cube, and, of course, as boxes they didn’t. One more small cube had to be added.”

-Tony Smith on Free Ride

All artworks © Tony Smith Estate/Artists Rights Society (ARS, New York)