The alfresco home to
some of the world’s best
sculpture, the Storm King Art
Center in the Hudson Valley
celebrates the relationship
between earth, sky and art
BY DAVID LEVINE
Let me get this on the record upfront: I am not an abstract art kind of guy. I’m way too literal. Show me a painting of three randomly colored stripes titled The Birth of Man or something equally air- quote important and I roll my eyes. I don’t see it.
I don’t get it. I am a philistine.
And yet there is one place, about an hour north of Manhattan, where I think I do get it. In fact, I get it while still in
my car. After paying admission to this unusual place and
driving toward the parking lot, my wife, daughter and I pass
a large open meadow ringed with old-growth trees, beautifully natural, a perfect representation of the Catskill Mountain area in which it sits. And in the middle of the meadow is
a huge, gray, steel … thing, 50 feet tall and almost as wide. It
has an arch in its center, as if to welcome you through, and it
also has two long, outstretched arms, as if it is reaching up to
the sky. As you pass it, your view changes—and this goes for
both the sculpture (Oh, that leg is sort of like a whale’s fluke;
Ah, that arm kind of looks like a bird’s wing now) and the
landscape (Hey, you can see the mountains between those
trees). It is heavy and grounded. It is light and uplifting. It
seems to connect the earth and the sky. And you.
It is the perfect introduction to a magical world called
Storm King Art Center, which opens this season on April 4.