It had been a while since I’d last visited the Storm King Art Center, so it was nice to see that despite some very big changes to the center’s non-sculpture aspects, none of it has gotten in the way of viewing the art on display. This is not so surprising, as the huge campus of Storm King is meant to be as clutter-free as possible so that visitors can luxuriate in the proper viewing of large works of art.
Storm King, located about 75 miles north of New York City, is one of the few places that visitors can view large works of sculpture out of doors and in a setting that is truly vast enough to give the sculptures their proper context.
Two trams run every hour (sometimes every half-hour) along various routes across the grounds and passing the huge sculptures by Mark di Suvero, Alexander Calder, Maya Lin, and Robert Lichtenstein, among many others. A canned narration providing information about the sculptures to our right and left as well as helpfully reminding visitors (about every five minutes) that it is the 50th anniversary of SKAC and that annual memberships are available at the visitors’ center.
The most dramatic change was the presence of a snack bar, an outdoor gazebo that stands near the south parking lot. This side of Storm King has always been reserved as a wooded area for visitors to hike around for a wider view of the landscape, and I can imagine that there may have been some grumbling with the addition of this gazebo. Nevertheless, the snacks and drinks appear to have been carefully thought out with favor to locally produced, higher quality snacks.
Two Sculpture Highlights
Lin’s “Wave Field” provides a nice counterpoint to the large steel girders that for di Suvero and Calder’s work. It is one of the few, or perhaps at the moment, only sculptures at Storm King to make use of the land itself as the earth is transformed into a series of rolling waves.
Zhang Huan’s “Three-Legged Buddha” provides a not unwelcome departure from the sharper elements that dominate the work at Storm King. Huan’s structure is more playful, cartoonish and freakish, especially considering its scale.