Editor: Jose Morales
Since its establishment in 1960, Storm King Art Center has become one of the most renowned sculpture parks in the world, showcasing large-scale contemporary sculptures by some of the 20th and 21st centuries' most influential artists.
New York – Storm King Art Center is a 500-acre outdoor museum in the historic and picturesque Hudson Valley in New York State, a region known for its beautiful, panoramic landscapes that have inspired artists for centuries. Since its establishment in 1960, this outdoor museum has become one of the most renowned sculpture parks in the world. It is an artistic destination showcasing carefully curated large-scale contemporary sculptures by some of the 20th and 21st centuries’ most influential artists.
The concept for Storm King Art Center was first conceived back in the late 1950s, when Ralph E. Ogden, a businessman and avid art enthusiast along with his wife Sue, purchased a 168-acre estate in New Windsor, NY. Their vision was to create a unique, non-profit museum experience that integrated art and nature, drawing inspiration from an exhibit they had visited at the Museum of Modern Art. The art center opened with some small European sculptures Odgen obtained in Europe, and in 1967 he took the collection to another level with the purchase of 13 pieces from the innovative sculptor Roland David Smith. Soon after, installations by other acclaimed artists were set across the landscape.
Storm King Art Center is recognized for being a champion of large-scale avant-garde sculptures, playing a pivotal role in the exposure and acceptance of minimalism and abstract expressionism for a new generation. The museum provided a platform where artists could experiment with size and form in ways impossible in most indoor settings.
Today, Storm King’s collection has grown to feature around 115 sculptures installed thoughtfully within its vast landscape of rolling hills, open fields, and woodlands, extending over 500 contiguous acres. From monumental abstract steel creations to site-specific earthworks, the pieces engage with and enhance the natural surroundings.
The iconic works on exhibit exemplify the art center’s commitment to boundary-pushing sculpture and respect for the land. Notable pieces include Calder’s “The Arch” (1975) and “Five Swords” (1976), the mind-boggling “Suspended” (1977) by artist Menashe Kadishmanar, works by Alexander Liberman, including “Iliad” (1976) “Adam” (1974) and “Adonai” (1971), “Neruda’s Gate” (2005) by Mark di Suvero and also his work “Pyramidian” (1998), which rise beautifully in the south fields of the art center. But perhaps, one of the most subtly stunning works of art in Storm King is Maya Lin’s “Wavefield” (2008). Recognized for her innovative approach to architecture, land art, and memorials, including the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC, Lin’s “Wavefield” is a testament to the artist’s environmentalist work, recreating the experience of undulating, rolling sea waves over four acres of grassy land. To minimize the environmental impact of the maintenance of this installation, the artist installed a special natural drainage system in compliance with The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Art King’s landscape and buildings have also been thoughtfully developed with several green features like renewable energy, green roofs, and an eco-friendly visitor center.
Beyond exhibiting great works, Storm King Art Center also places emphasis on public engagement and education for guests of all ages. Daily guided tours are included with admission, providing insights into the artists and the various meanings behind the sculptures on display. Seasonal family programs, lectures, live music events, and exhibitions allow visitors to engage more deeply with the center and its lush environment.
Storm King Art Center is a truly distinctive, must-visit destination, offering a unique experience that interplays between art and nature. It is, in fact, a breathtaking experience that you will not find in traditional sculpture gardens or galleries around the world. The endless vistas and ever-changing scenery of the dreamy Hudson Valley offer unlimited possibilities for artistic and spiritual discovery.
The ideal times to visit Storm King are spring and fall when the weather is mild, and the skies are clear. Summer can bring crowds trying to escape the New York City heat. While the park is open in winter, snow-covered trails limit accessibility. However, the snow-covered fields do provide a completely different and stunning experience of the art center. Give yourself at least half a day, if not longer, to fully immerse yourself in what Storm King has to offer.
Storm King is located about an hour north of New York City, easily accessible for a day or weekend trip. Public transportation options are limited. Driving is the most convenient way to visit. Admission includes a map to guide you along the trails and help you discover the works found in this remarkable landscape. – GM
Images by BlueAngel Photography New York for Guild Magazine.
GUILD MAGAZINE - THE TRAVEL ISSUE