"Broadway Windows Installation" Review

ARTS Magazine Review from June 1987

SYDNEY CASH Broadway Windows

By Barry Schwabaky (Currently the art critic for the New Yorker and co-editor of Artforum )

While most window installations at Broadway Windows—or at comparable sites like Windows on White—use the window as large vitrines, containers in which to display three=dimensional objects, Sydney Cash’s installation used the convention of the window in the way that a painter used the picture plane, mediating between flatness and depth. Here, striated or mottled sheets of glass was the primary material being used—something like the kind one might find on shower doors, backed by another planar surface that might be variously colored, drawn over, or written on. Cash designed the piece so that the two layers would interact with the movement of the passing viewer, to produce shimmering, optical patterns within a severe geometric framework. There were six pieces, most of which were divided into three horizontal rectangular zones, and of these the one in the center was usually somewhat wider. Although these pieces clearly refer to the Op and Kinetic art of the ‘60’s, they possess a gravity that was rare in such work, thanks in part to the beauty of the intensely colored light playing through the glass, as well as to the totemic tripartite division so reminiscent of Rothko, but above all to the fact that while Op art was purely an art of surfaces, that of Cash is an art of layers in depth—of mystery and disclosure.

While anyone who has spent a great deal of time in downtown Manhattan, I have walked by many installations at Broadway Windows over the last few years. Some have been silly and some have been intelligent, but I have never seen one as immediately striking or as memorable. There’s something wonderful about the way Cash has used the motion of the passerby to trigger the effect that seduces him or her into stopping to look and to reflect on what has been seen. Art in public places is rarely so gentle or generous in its interpellation of the mobile urban subject.

(Broadway Windows, February 27- April 4,1987)

Video of that installation made by Vic Losick "A Notion of Motion"