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Robert Mangold

Three Red X Within X

1981

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Artist

Robert Mangold (1937-)

Title

Three Red X Within X

Date

1981

Medium

Acrylic and carbon pencil on canvas, three parts

Dimensions

Overall: 109 7/8 × 109 in. (279.1 × 276.9 cm)

Credit line

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Purchase, with funds from the Painting and Sculpture Committee

Accession number

83.4a-c

Object Label

In 1980, Robert Mangold began his X series, completed the following year. Like his earlier geometric paintings, these works are composed of simple, yet sophisticated combinations of colors and forms that he first explored through sketches. The X series, however, marks the first time that Mangold focused exclusively on the cruciform shape. Three Red X Within X and the other works in the series are fashioned out of multiple panels that the artist joined together to create a unified composition; pencil-drawn lines run across the sections, linking together the panels and rendering them visually continuous. In his previous work, Mangold had incorporated x forms within a larger composition; by shifting to a format in which the entire canvas is shaped into this symbol, the X series recalls modernist precedents—especially the Russian Constructivists and de Stijl painters, who sought to integrate their geometric canvases into the space of the viewer, creating a universally accessible aesthetic language.