3 Cubes in a Seven Axis Relationship

Philip Stewart

2016; Stainless steel

North Campus

Aspiring to surpass the limits of form through technology, Philip Stewart created 3 Cubes in a Seven Axis Relationship, a 14,000 pound, 25 foot-tall kinetic sculpture. Three large, metal cubes are stacked on their corners and rotate independently around a center axis. Even while stationary, they imply movement through their embossed surfaces and altering rotations. Stewart, a large-scale sculptor, and conservator, was inspired by artists such as David Smith and George Rickey (who also has a work on display on North Campus) in creating works that explore simple geometric form and motion. He especially enjoys “creating pieces that engage not just one type of person, but everyone. This sculpture will be something engineers can problem solve and three-year-olds will stare at in wonderment.” 3 Cubes in a Seven Axis Relationship was commissioned by the College of Engineering to honor the late Charles Vest, U-M alumnus, former dean of the College of Engineering, provost, president of the National Academy of Engineering, and president of MIT. The sculpture acknowledges and continues Vest’s legacy to establish a collection of public artworks on U-M’s North Campus, which now includes works by Fletcher Benton, Maya Lin, and Beverly Pepper.