Storm King Art Center: Taking Abstract Art To The Next Level

By Abby Foster

Imagine this: you’re trekking across acres of greenery: meadows, hayfields, grasslands, hills and ponds. You’ve been walking for almost an hour through what seems like a dozen different ecosystems and your legs are starting to hurt. As you break through a dense treeline and into an open field, you finally see it. It’s cherry red and as big as a house, maybe bigger. Its long, tubular limbs are sticking out into the open air in all different directions in what seems like haphazard placement, and on the right-hand side, three rusty orbs are hanging by thick cable wire. What is it? Who the hell knows. But it makes you ask questions, and that’s exactly what you can expect from the abstract installations at the Storm King Art Center.

The outdoor art center in Cornwall is celebrating its 60th anniversary as one of the world’s leading sculpture parks in 2020. Originally founded in 1960 as a museum for Hudson River School painting, the Storm King Art Center is 500 acres of weird and wacky sculptures that attract over 200,000 visitors each year. The center also has an indoor collection for smaller sculptures, photographs and drawings.

Some of the more notable abstract wonders on display at Storm King are “Mirror Fence” by Alyson Shotz, which is a white picket-style fence made entirely of mirrors; the “Three Legged Buddha” by Zhang Huan, featuring a 28-foot high copper and steel sculpture of three phantom legs, one of which is stepping on the head of Buddha; the “Storm King Wavefield” by Maya Lin, which consists of seven 400 foot long waves created out of gravel and grass, evoking a rough sea out of a grassy field and then there is “Catskill” by former SUNY New Paltz professor Manuel Bromberg, which is literally just a moss-covered rock.

Storm King offers bike rentals on a first come, first serve basis for those who wish to add a little extra cardio to their excursion. Although the rentals are $10 an hour with a two hour minimum, putting your tour on wheels will allow you to see more of the 500 acres than you would on foot, and trust me, there is a lot to see. 

Tickets can be purchased online or on site. Admission is $18 for adults, and $8 for students with I.D. If you’re a morning person, tickets to the center are $3 cheaper between 9a.m. and 10a.m. every Saturday and Sunday. 

In compliance with the recommended safety precautions for stopping the spread of COVID-19, The Storm King Art Center will remain temporarily closed until further notice, all events and programs scheduled now until May 31 have been postponed.

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