What happened to the Astor Place Cube?
One of New York City’s most iconic landmarks, the Astor Place Cube, aka “Alamo,” which was sculpted by late Hamptons artist Tony Rosenthal (1914–2009) and weighs nearly 2,000 pounds, and stands 15 feet tall, mysteriously disappeared from its perch on the Lower East Side on last Monday, May 8.
Case solved: The once spinning (and now stationary) sculpture was sent off to be refurbished, and will spin again before being shipped to Southampton for the Hamptons Fine Art Fair, which takes place from July 13–16.
The restored “Alamo” will be on display from July 10–16. Rosenthal is being inducted posthumously into the fair’s Hall of Fame, so the city’s commissioners voted unanimously to loan the historical piece to commemorate the occasion.
Hamptonites may also be familiar with the similar spinning steel Rosenthal sculpture, “Cube 72,” which was made in 1972 and found a prominent spot outside Guild Hall in East Hampton.
Hamptons Fine Art Fair founder and Executive Director Rick Friedman says securing the massive piece was no easy feat.
“To get this loan from New York City is outrageous,” he said on Tuesday. “It’s like getting the Statue of Liberty,” Friedman added, pointing out that negotiations took about a year, with a lot of back and forth, an army of lawyers and piles paperwork. But, he said, it was worth the effort.
Friedman, says he will feature 150 galleries such as M.S. Ray, which will bring rare Picasso works to mark the 50th anniversary of the artist’s death in “Celebration Picasso, 1973-2023.”
Works by more than 1,000 artists, including Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Harlem-based Guy Stanley Philoche, will be on view.
Hamptons Fine Art Fair takes place on the Southampton Fairgrounds, 605 County Rd 39 in Southampton. Visit hamptonsfineartfair.com for tickets and info.