Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Storm King sculpture park

The southern-most art destination on our recent trip to New England was the Storm King sculpture park in Cornwall, New York. Ever since I learned about this site, I have wanted to experience it for myself. The park is named for its nearby mountain. The project began in 1960, and its 500 acres now receive 200,000 visitors each year.

We arrived on a sunny Sunday afternoon, and it was already busy, though never crowded. Trams travel a circuit to help visitors to reach all corners of the vast space. Rental bikes are also available on site.

Visitors are asked not to touch or stand on the sculptures. Exceptionally, a few are meant to be touched, and they are so labeled in the handout and on the site plaque.


A panoramic view taken from near the hilltop museum building.
The landscape seems to extend endlessly in all directions.

The rolling hills offer many vantage points.

Almost all the sculptures may be viewed up close.
Here is Untitled, by Joel Shapiro, 1994

Black Flag, Alexander Calder, 1974

Visitors enjoy interacting with the sculptures,
sometimes striking a pose for photos.

Here, a viewer performs a physical exam of Three Legged Buddha, by
Zhang Huan, 2007.

Alternate view of Three Legged Buddha. The sculpture weighs
more than 12 tons. The head is a self-portrait of the artist.

Some sculptures were placed in relation to water features,
like Roy Lichtenstein's Mermaid,  1994

An example of land art, Storm King Wavefield by Maya Lin, 2007-8.

Lin's best-known work is no doubt the Vietnam Veterans' Memorial in Washington DC. Storm King Wavefield, above, consists of seven nearly-400-foot-long waves, ranging in height from ten to fifteen feet. It is considered to be an environmental reclamation project, situated on what was once an 11-acre gravel pit that supplied material for the New York State Thruway. The rhythm of the masses replicates the scale of a series of mid-ocean waves.


Another example of land art is Storm King Wall, by Andy Goldsworthy, 1997-98.

The stone wall continues on either side of a small pond, up the hill and into
 the woods. It measures 2278 feet, and is Goldsworthy's largest work to date.

These Ionic columns are massive in scale, and overlook a vista.

Some sculptures interact with each other.
In the foreground, North South East West by Lynda Benglis,
1988/2002/2014-15.

Others relate to the trees and detritus in the woods, or mark the margin between
open ground and forest.
Here, Eight Positive Trees,  Menashe Kadishman,  1977

Other sculptures, like City on the High Mountain, by Louise Nevelson,
are more stand-alone.

The website for Storm King is a rich source of information about all of their 100-plus sculptures. It allows you to search by artist, by title or by decade, and offers details about the making or installation of each piece. 

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