Back in August of 2009, Jolie and I spent a warm Saturday afternoon walking the grounds of the Storm King Art Center, in nearby Mountainville, New York, a hamlet of the town of Cornwall. We had read about it from various sources, and were curious to experience what it has to offer. Basically, this Center is a large open air museum, one which specializes in displaying large scale abstract sculptures in the context of a spectacularly beautiful parcel of land, some 500 acres in size, in the foothills of the Storm King Mountain.

Incidentally, here is a picture I took, from Cold Spring NY showing the Storm King Mountain across the Hudson River. So the Center is just beyond this mountain.

Driving down through Newburgh, we soon arrived and upon entry into the grounds, one of the first things that caught our eye -aside from the lush, green beauty of the place – was a large, tower-y looking piece. From a distance, this is what we saw.

and up closer, here is how it appeared.

Created in 2002, by Mark di Suvero, an American abstract expressionist sculptor, Frog Legs, which is the name of this piece, is one of many by this artist.  It fits in quite well with other, neighboring pieces, such as this one – reminiscent to me of a dinosaur grazing in the grass.

Then, after a short while, I was really struck by the balance of sculptural pieces and the surrounding landscape and its details. The landscape itself appeared to be also sculptured. Some examples:

One of the experimental landscape pieces that we saw was by the artist Maya Lin.

We also really enjoyed walking down this long path. It reminded us both of the look of an English country garden path.

This swan filled pond also seemed to have a European look and feel to it.

But then, we discovered, on the pond something that was decidedly American – a piece of pop art by artist Roy Lichtenstein, called Mermaid, and painted onto a fiberglass boat.

Another piece that I liked, also by Mark di Suvero, was called Mother Peace. It was created in 1969, which helps to explain its incorporation of an iconic image from that era, namely, the peace symbol.

Some other works that we really liked.

Man in the Quarry (1960) by Josef Pillhoffer

The Arch (1975) by Alexander Calder

Free Ride Home (1974) by Kenneth Snelson

Endless Column (1968) by Tal Streeter

Untitled (1968) by William Tucker

This spot proved to be a nice spot to sit for a moment.

Another cool piece was a playable work called Beethoven’s Quartet (2003), also by Mark di Suvero.

What makes it playable is the availability of some mallets for making percussive sounds with it. A lot of the other visitors seemed to enjoy doing this. Finally, when it was our turn, we videorecorded the joyful experience of playing with this piece.

Bang, bang! Clang, clang!

I would have to say, though, that my favorite overall work here would have to be a piece from Alexander Liberman, an artist with a truly diverse portfolio and very interesting biography. The piece is called Iliad (1974-76). Liberman’s sculptural works, I have learned, were generally made from industrial materials and known for their bright colors. There was something about this sculpture, paying tribute to Homer’s epic poem about the Trojan War, that spoke very deeply to me. Here, then, are several photo images.

So, that was our day spent at Storm King Art Center.  We had a great time and we highly recommend a visit there, particularly if you enjoy viewing art. Viewing art in a beautiful outdoor setting is an amazing experience, and one I look forward to again, hopefully this year.

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