Monday, June 28, 2010

Storm King

"Storm King" refers to a mountain that borders the outdoor sculpture park called "Storm King Art Center" that is located in upstate New York, only about an hour by bus from New York City. This center displays on its grounds the works of some of the most noteworthy sculptors of the 20th century. I wasn't prepared, however, for the emotional wallop this park delivers in terms of its sheer beauty and enchanting interplay between the things of nature and the things of human beings. To look out over the bluff of the museum center and to view these giant works, all greatly separated from each other, is to be part of a landscape where art and nature don't merge exactly, but co-exist in a particularly satisfying way. By this, I mean that the sculptural park is big enough to allow artists to create works that are virtually unlimited in size and thus able to compete visually with the grand vistas of forests, mountains and plains around and behind them. When you add in the oranges and reds that many of the sculptures wore, along with the more muted bronzes and browns, you have a natural and crafted landscape that is utterly unique.

I don't know what it is about a place like Storm King, but both Karen and I found ourselves weeping gently as we joined our first tour and began to investigate works both quite close to us and others at surprisingly great distances (as much as a half mile away). It is a combination of this place's unique beauty - both natural and human-made - and the commitment of the artists to realizing their creative visions that especially moved us.

This past weekend we visited Hyde Park and all these places recalling the greatness of the Roosevelts. Our day touring their ancestral home, ER's own Val-Kill, and FDR's Top Cottage, which was to be his retirement retreat, was incredible. We also toured Dia at Beacon, which was wonderful, too. But it was Storm King that took our breath away and that both of us feel we need to return to again and again.

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