The Financial District in Lower Manhattan is a playground for monumental public art installations, including Isamu Noguchi’s Red Cube, which was installed on the plaza at 140 Broadway Between Cedar and Liberty Streets in 1968.
The diagonal lines of red painted steel stand in contrast to the stark horizontal and vertical lines of the adjacent front of the HSBC Building (formerly the Marine Midland Bank) by architect Gordon Bunshaft. Despite its title, the sculpture is not actually a cube, but instead seems as though it has been stretched along its vertical axis.
Aside from it’s striking color, Red Cube also stands out from the surrounding architecture in that all of its lines are diagonals, whereas the buildings are made up of horizontal and vertical lines. Additionally, the sculpture is balanced somewhat precariously on one corner, while the buildings, by contrast, and solidly placed.
Through the center of the cube there is a cylindrical hole, revealing an inner surface of gray with evenly-spaced lines moving from one opening of the hole to the other. Looking through this hole, the viewer’s gaze is directed skyward, towards the building behind, tying the sculpture and the architecture together.
Red Cube is Located at 140 Broadway (at Liberty Street) New York, N.Y.10005. By Subway, Take the 4 or 5 to Wall Street Station.