We guarantee that you’ve never been to an art gallery like Storm King before. Storm King Art Center is a 500-acre, non-profit, outdoor museum nestled in New York’s Hudson Valley. It is located in the town of Cornwall and is roughly one hour by car from Manhattan. Large-scale sculptures are what the centre is known for, which means that a trip to Storm King will have you meandering through nature, marvelling at some of the greatest works of contemporary art in history. Sounds pretty great, doesn’t it? If you still aren’t convinced that this should be the top must-see art gallery on your list, then continue reading to discover more about this unique cultural institution.
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Storm King Art Center was established in 1960 owing to the hard work and dedication of its late founders, Ralph E. Ogden and H. Peter Stern. The pair were co-owners of Mountainville, New York’s Star Expansion Company, and the museum building and its immediate surroundings were initially a gift from Ogden’s own foundation, the Ralph E. Ogden Foundation Inc. As time went on, Ogden and Stern’s Star Expansion Company donated over 300 acres of land and another 2,100 acres of Schunnemunk Mountain to the centre.
The site was originally intended to be an art centre for the display of the Hudson River School paintings. However, in 1966, thirteen sculptures from artist David Smith were purchased, and Storm King placed sculptures within its landscape for the very first time. This purchase led to further sculpture acquisitions, and before they knew it, Storm King had become one of the world’s leading sculpture parks.
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Unlike most other art galleries or museums that you’ve likely been to, Storm King is all about juxtaposing nature’s breathtaking landscape with visionary works of art. As the website states, “Storm King Art Center nurtures a vibrant bond between art, nature, and people, creating a place where discovery is limitless.” This serves as the perfect description of Storm King, which uses the beauty of the Hudson Valley to its advantage. Strolling through the gallery, visitors will walk through meadows, forests, and on hillsides as they keep their eyes peeled for the next work of art ahead. Each piece on display was purchased owing to its immediate impact on viewers, but also with consideration to how it looks in the distance and fits into the existing landscape. In essence, a visit to Storm King is a natural and cultural experience all in one, combining hiking and art gazing.
The Works of Art
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While sculptures have become Storm King Art Center’s specialty, at any given time of the year, visitors will also find drawings, photographs, and site-specific earthworks on display. Like all museums, Storm King has a permanent collection as well as temporary exhibits. Most popular among the permanent works are Manashe Kadishman’s Suspended (1977), consisting of glass attached to metal so that the piece appears to float freely, and Maya Lin’s Storm King Wavefield (2009), one of the museum’s newest additions, comprised of seven rows of wavy landforms. There are also many other pieces by famous American artists, such as Alexander Calder, Sol LeWitt, Alice Aycock, and Douglas Abdell.