Marty’s Cube leaves University after 16 years

Image by Diego Saldana. Video by Rebeca Piccardo.

Rebeca Piccardo/News Director

Students may have to find another ritual to help them pass their  exams now that the University’s lucky charm has been removed for good.

On Thursday, May 22, “Marty’s Cube,” as it was titled by sculptor Tony Rosenthal, was lifted from its spot for the past 16 years, outside Deuxieme Maison, and hauled away.

The University cited safety concerns for removing the cube.

It had been damaged and could have presented a danger to members of the University community passing by it, according to a statement from the University Media Relations office.

These safety concerns prompted the University to return the piece back to its original donor, Martin Margulies.

The Margulies Collection curator, Katherine Hinds, said that over a period of time outdoor sculptures tend to have maintenance needs.


Image by Diego Saldana. Marty’s Cube has stood outside Deuxieme Maison since 1998. On May 22, 2014, it was loaded on a flatbed and taken away, possibly for good.

“Universities make budgetary decisions,” said Hinds, who was glad that the University gave her the opportunity to take back the sculpture to renovate it and bring it back to top-notch conditions.

However, once it’s fixed,  the cube will not be coming home to FIU.

“We will then decide where to re-donate the work,” said Hinds.

The cube will be donated to another educational institution in Florida, one that will have the funds to maintain the sculpture, she added.

Marty’s Cube had been donated to the University a few years back, under President Emeritus Modesto A. Maidique.

The  SGC-MMC president at the time, Arthur “AJ” Meyer, told Student Media back in 2009 that he had written a letter to Margulies, asking to keep the cube permanently at the University.

“I wanted to secure that we keep Marty’s Cube at this University, a university without many traditions at all, and so I sent a letter through President Maidique,” Meyer said. “Mr. Margulies just responded to us and told us that it was ours.”

Meyer could not be reached for further comment by press time.

The cube was first brought to the University in 1998. Since then, it had become a part of the University spirit, with the popular student tradition spinning the cube for luck before an exam.

According to the Student Alumni Association traditions, this tradition was started by a group of chemistry students who first spun the cube just for fun while they studied.

They all received perfect scores on their exam.

After testing out the cube’s luck and acing their exam the following semester, they decided not to spin it again and see what would happen. That semester that the students chose not to spin the cube, they all failed the exam and had to repeat the class.


Image by FIU, courtesy of Creative Commons. “Argosy,” by Alexander Liberman is also part of the Margulies Collection.

Spinning the 15-foot sculpture has since become a part of the freshmen orientation tour, midterms week, finals week and the Student Government Association’s Cram Jam events.

With the cube gone, FIU Meme Generators created a virtual Marty’s Cube that students can spin online.

“Don’t you fret, and don’t you frown, there’s now a virtual cube in town,” read the facebook post on the FIU meme page, along with the hashtags “save the cube,” “spin the cube” and “love the cube.”

The real cube sculpture now sits at the Margulies Collection at the Warehouse on 591 NW 27 Street in Miami, and it will undergo any needed maintenance and renovations.

Marty’s Cube is one of five similar sculptures spread throughout the country. The “Alamo” was the first cube of its kind, finished in 1967, and now stands in New York City.

These types of sculptures are so unusual that, according to Hinds, it is hard to place a value.

“It is difficult to put a value on works such as these because these monumental works do not come on the market place often,” Hinds said.

Margulies had also loaned the University “Argosy,” the red towering sculpture on the roundabout at the entrance of 107 Avenue and 16 Street.

According to the statement from Media Relations, the University is grateful to Margulies for his sculptures and how they enhance the Modesto A. Maidique Campus.


This story will be updated when new information become available. Rhys Williams and Diego Saldana-Rojas contributed to this report.



6 Comments on "Marty’s Cube leaves University after 16 years"

  1. “They all received perfect scores on their exam.

    After testing out the cube’s luck and acing their exam the following semester, they decided not to spin it again and see what would happen. That semester that the students chose not to spin the cube.

    They all failed the exam and had to repeat the class.”

    This sounds like 5th grade recess fairytale

  2. Dear President Rosenberg,

    Way to spit on tradition.

    P.S. Obviously the person who commented above does not attend FIU.

    Sincerely, a future alumni that will never donate to this glorified community college with dorms and no sense of pride or tradition.

  3. So it is just gone? No chance to raise the money and keep it? If we want to establish traditions, we can’t let our symbols go… Will we lose the new panther statue at MMC one day when maintenance is needed? Will the marine sculptures at BBC just disappear one day when they need fixing up? This isn’t right…

  4. GoldenPanther2000 | August 20, 2014 at 6:48 PM | Reply

    Please Dr. Rosenberg, save our epic memes.

  5. Please! Help us save our cube Dr. Rosenberg!!
    This just isn’t right for our cube not to return because the university “can’t afford” it’s maintenance? How embarassing..

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.