Storm King

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Sometimes, all you need to regain your footing is to get away from it all, take a step back, and see the bigger picture.

Sol LeWitt, Five Modular Units 

I love New York City with a passion but sometimes, the whirlwind of activities, frenetic energy, and unnecessarily complicated people it fosters can be too much. By the end of last week, I just needed to get away from it all. Mercifully, some friends had a plan to escape reality for an afternoon. So on the most gorgeous spring day of 2012 yet, we piled into a van and drove up to Storm King Art Center in Mountainville, New York. It's an easy one hour and 15 minute drive from the city and worth every second on the road.

Storm King is an open air museum spanning 500 acres and displaying over 100 works of art—mostly large-scale sculptures set against a backdrop of sprawling green fields and bright cerulean skies. The fee is $12 ($8 for students) to enter this triptastic world.

Menashe Kadishman, Suspended, 1977

Alexander Calder, The Arch, 1975 

The sculptures are thoughtfully placed throughout the grounds so that the art interacts with its setting.

From left: a sculpture by Mark di Suvero; Roy Lichtenstein's Mermaid

Though truth be told, the park itself is so beautiful that at times nature outdoes the art.

What I appreciated best were the pieces with a more organic quality that seemed to meld seamlessly with nature. In particular, I loved these cedar and bronze sculptures by Ursula von Rydingsvard. The undulating stacks of hand-hewn cedar have a primitive and yet intricate character to them, and they seemed to interact the most naturally with their surroundings.

Ursula von Rydingsvard, For Paul

Ursula von Rydingsvard, Luba

The theme of Storm King's 2012 exhibition is Light and Landscape, and features art that utilizes these two facets of nature that are in abundance in this space. One of my favorite pieces was a solarium fitted with colored glass by Brooklyn-based artist William Lamson. It seems like something out of a dream, standing silent and solitary on a verdant rolling hill. Entering it feels like walking into a kaleidoscope, bathing you in dappled colors and quite literally allowing you to see your surroundings in a different light.

William Lamson, Solarium

Another favorite of mine was this piece by Indian-born British sculptor Anish Kapoor, which draws you in with its shiny, polished surface and then surprises you by presenting you with a view of your world turned upside down.

Anish Kapoor, Untitled

By the end of the day, my soul felt revived with all the beauty seen and experienced, and my head cleared of the minutiae of daily life it had been so fixated on. Being so focused on the day-to-day can make us ruinously self-absorbed, and it's good to be reminded that there are so many wonderful things outside of ourselves just waiting to be discovered. So go on, get out of your head, and come out and play!

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