The Art of Statement-Making at Storm King

When it comes to art, the small details are often the most important ones. Whisper thin brushstrokes of paint, canvas fiber quality, and minute variations in hues are small, yet significant factors when considering museum-worthy masterpieces around the world.

Storm King Art Center operates a little differently. For this Hudson Valley art hub, the unofficial motto is “think big.” The space, which is an open landscape of over 500 acres, is home to more than 100 larger than life sculptures. Over the years, the Cornwall locale has garnered the attention and praise of everyone from staff reporters at the New York Times to global celebrities like Martha Stewart and Aziz Ansari. The lasting acclaim is well deserved. Since 1960, Storm King has become synonymous with groundbreaking modern and contemporary art.

Art in Nature

What makes Storm King so unique is not the art living on the grounds. Rather, it is not just the art at all. Instead, what is most striking is how harmoniously each installation meshes with the surrounding landscape. The unity of art and nature is an exhibit unto itself.

As the site’s website declares, the goal at Storm King is to “create a dynamic and unique place to explore art in nature.” That goal is achieved in abundance, thanks to the massive displays that are tastefully strewn across the rolling hillsides. Notably, every year the team at Storm King moves a number of installations to different locations on the property to ensure an ever-changing panorama.

Although many of the pieces are staples of the center, two new exhibitions are spotlights of the collection in 2017. David Smith: The White Sculptures, running May 13 – November 12, showcases an assortment of Smith’s trademark white sculptures, six of which are displayed on the aptly named Museum Hill. In addition to celebrating the artist’s works, the collection marks the fiftieth anniversary of Storm King founder Ralph E. Ogden’s acquisition of the thirteen Smith sculptures that formed the start of the art center’s outdoor installations.

“Our presentation provides a singular opportunity to see a focused series of Smith’s work, while celebrating the deep connections between his art and one of the core values of Storm King’s mission – to explore art in nature,” explains John P. Stern, Storm King’s president.

Arresting Interactions

The other exhibition, Outlooks: Heather Hart, is a photographer’s delight. The physical installation, titled The Oracle of Lacuna, is the triangular rooftop of a home. The pristine shingles and stark white trim pop against the verdant green landscape surrounding the fixture. The interactive nature of the exhibit means that visitors can walk on top of and underneath the structure. Admittedly, it is a hard temptation to resist.

“Heather’s invitation to activate The Oracle of Lacuna has sparked an incredible, creative response from our community,” says Victoria Lichtendorf, Director of Education and Public Programs at Storm King. “Artists, farmers, musicians, dancers, children, educators, and poets have all ascended the rooftop to share exuberant, soulful, and meditative moments with Storm King’s visitors.”

This 2017 rendition of Outlooks, which is a site-specific art series now in its fifth year, opened on the same day as The White Sculptures and runs until November 26.

While both the temporary and permanent sculptures at Storm King allow for interested visitors to brush up on their knowledge of art, the site itself also offers a number of educational programs to children, adults, and practicing artists. Anyone interested in connecting with the art should attend one of the numerous exhibition-related programs, which are often suitable for families, or the “Wanderings and Wonderings” events, which promote a creative, one-of-a-kind engagement with the selected installations.

In addition to the physical art, Storm King also hosts a wealth of community concerts and performances throughout the season. The Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival performed Love’s Labour’s Lost in September, while the Bardian Ensemble visited on October 1 for a chamber music concert.

Tours, Yoga – and More

Beyond that, the center offers a variety of outdoor tours for the public, including morning bird walks, afternoon beekeeper tours, and moonlight strolls. Some of the most popular offerings, however, are the Saturday morning outdoor yoga sessions. Attendees can breathe in the fresh Hudson Valley air while perfecting their downward dogs and crow poses.

Art and nature lovers can visit Storm King any day of the week except for Tuesdays in October. Come November, the center will also be closed on Mondays. General admission is $18, with discounts for children, seniors, and students. If you plan a trip on a Saturday or Sunday, try to arrive between 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. to take advantage of discounted admission. Since autumn is peak season for Storm King, expect the destination to be much more crowded on the weekends. Call ahead or visit the website in advance to learn more about popular times and ticket options.

All in all, Storm King is the place to be this autumn. As fall foliage shines and crisp Hudson Valley breezes blow, celebrate the season by browsing around the Cornwall art hub and exploring the world of XXL contemporary art. It is time to see the bigger picture.

VISIT Monday, Wednnesday – Friday 10:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., Saturday & Sunday 9:00 a.m. –5:30 p.m. in October; Wednesday – Sunday 10:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. in November


GO to 1 Museum Road, New Windsor, NY.