Where Sculpture is King

Nestled away in the lower Hudson Valley, NY sits the bucolic 500 acre site of fields, hills, woodland and waterways that is home to the Storm King Art Center; founded in 1960 as a showcase for a stunning collection of more than 100 pieces of permanently installed contemporary sculpture.

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Mon Père, Mon Père, by Mark di Suvero, 1973-75.

Framed by the Storm King Mountain to the east and Schunnemunk Mountain to the west, the sculptures and installations stand radiantly in site-specific locations. They vary in size and design concept and were created by some of the most acclaimed artists of the mid 20th century to today, including Alexander Calder and Maya Lin.

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A scene just waiting to be painted!

The setting alone is breathtaking and only intensifies when coming upon a work, whether massive or to scale, against the backdrop of nature. Some pieces literally merge with the earth, such as Richard Serra’s Schunnemunk Fork while others demand your attention, like Nam June Paik’s Waiting for UFO.

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Black Flag by Alexander Calder, 1974.

What makes this place so special is the sheer size of the property, allowing artworks that would engulf a standard outdoor space to stand as monolithic as they like and allow for multiple ways to view them—whether up close or from a vast distance. In addition, on the day that I attended, the setting was perfectly painterly as the trees were in fall transition and the range of colors made the experience even more idyllic. Works of art and the great outdoors—what more paradise?

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Leaping through Maya Lin’s 2007-08 Wavefield!

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Free Ride Home by Kenneth Snelson, 1974 (left) and Kiana by Robert Murray, 1978 (center).

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Waiting for UFO by Nam June Paik, 1992.

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Reflecting on Alyson Shotz’s 2003 Mirror Fence.

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The scenic lake.

Luba by Ursula von Rydingsvard, 2009-10.

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Taking a break in the shade of Richard Serra’s 1990-91 Schunnemunk Fork.

Special Note: feature image is Pyramidian by Mark di Suvero, 1987.