Field Trip: Storm King Art Center

The Storm King Art Center was founded in—ugh, who cares? Read the organization’s about page if you like. All I know is that I enjoyed it when I first went in 1990—when I was young enough to do banana rolls down the hills—and again five or maybe ten years ago, when Adam and I first made the trip together. The sculpture park is in New Windsor, N.Y., about 90 minutes’ drive from Tribeca. I’m not going to tell you it’s an easy or pleasant journey, because you have to go through New Jersey to get there, and that state’s road system is bizarre.

We arrived right around noon, after driving right past the entrance and having a spat. I thought I had read that admission costs $12 per person, but it’s actually $18, which seemed a bit much (and still does, to be honest). You can picnic in designated areas, but we ate lunch at the outdoor café, which was fine. There’s a bike-rental kiosk, but the park isn’t that large; we walked the perimeter in under two hours. Before we go any further, please bear in mind that there’s much more to Storm King that what I photographed. It didn’t occur to me to write about it till later.

Most of the sculptures have signs ordering you not to touch, but this one by Siah Armajani was an exception. We climbed inside, sat down, took photos of each other, and got out. I kind of hoped for more from it.

Much of the park reminds me of a golf course with art instead of golfers. You stroll over beautiful hills—staying on the paths or not, using a map or not. I prefer just wandering and coming upon whatever I come upon. Many artworks sit out in the open—such as the ones below by Alice Aycock, Alexander Calder, and Ursula von Rydingsvard, respectively—while others lurk amid the trees.

That last one is made of stacked wood. I think it was Adam’s favorite, and it was certainly a relief to see something that wasn’t metal. My two favorite sculptures were these two by Ronald Bladen and Joel Shapiro. The Shapiro is just so virile.

The iconic Storm King sculpture is the one below by Menashe Kadishman. It’s set in a dramatic dale, as you can see, and people love posing underneath it, pretending to hold it up. Wherever there was a highly Instagrammable moment—such as Isamu Noguchi’s stone bowl, Heather Hart’s half-buried house, or Zhang Huan’s big Buddha—visitors were posing like mad. I’m sure there’s a trend toward artists and curators being drawn to pose-friendly art, and it’ll be interesting to see if Storm King moves that direction in the future.

Even I posted a selfie in front of the mirrored fence by Alyson Shotz.

There’s less land art than you might expect, given all the land. Two highlights: Andy Goldsworthy’s serpentine stone wall, where Adam and I spent some time debating exactly where it begins and ends, and Maya Lin’s wave field, where I got overly distracted by the parents allowing their kids to run all over the ridges, even though the signs forbade it. (You may walk in the troughs, but the best views are from the hills above.)

And we were almost done. Our Zipcar was going to turn into a pumpkin, so we skipped the indoor museum. In any event, the experience was as much about the joy of being outside on a beautiful day as it was about the art.

Storm King is open daily (except Tuesday) through October, and Wednesday through Sunday in November. Pets are not allowed.

Previous Field Trip posts:
Red Hook
Sunset Park
Bay Ridge
The Met Breuer
ICP Museum
Noguchi Museum & Socrates Sculpture Park
The Fisher Landau Center for Art
The High Bridge
The Broad
Crown Heights
Spuyten Duyvil
New York Botanical Garden
Bed-Stuy
The New Whitney Museum
Bushwick-ish
The Rockaways
Greenpoint
Wave Hill
Governors Island
F.D.R. Four Freedoms Park
Litchfield County, Conn.
One Wall Street
Behind the Scenes at Grand Central Terminal
The Howard/Crosby Microneighborhood
Federal Reserve Bank of New York
East River Ferry
Museum of American Finance

2 Comments

  1. I seem to remember getting 2 for 1 admission as a Zipcar member…

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