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  • Writer's pictureMark Vogel

Storm King Art Center: A Surreal Sculpture Sanctuary

Outdoor Museum in New Windsor, New York

Storm King Art Center in New Windsor, New York
Storm King Art Center in New Windsor, New York

As a city-dweller, there's a certain allure in swapping the towering skyscrapers of New York City for the vibrant foliage of the countryside, if only for a day. The hectic, honking cityscape melted away into the rear-view mirror as I headed out on an early November morning. My destination? The breathtaking Storm King Art Center in New Windsor, New York.

“Visiting Storm King Art Center in early November, when the trees painted the landscape with their fiery hues, was an experience nothing short of magical.”

For those not in the know, Storm King Art Center is a majestic outdoor museum that sprawls across 500 acres of diverse landscape. The estate's vibrant tapestry of rolling hills, woodlands, and fields plays host to a curated collection of over 100 carefully selected sculptures and site-specific installations by acclaimed artists. The harmonious dance between the art and nature, the dialogue they create, is what truly sets this place apart.

After about an hour of driving, the appeal of fall in upstate New York had transformed the journey into a picturesque prelude. Upon arriving, I was greeted by the sight of the undulating landscape cloaked in a symphony of crimson, orange, and gold - an ephemeral display that made November the best time to visit.

You may have seen Storm King on the big or small screen. It has played backdrop to TV shows and movies. It was featured in an episode of the Netflix show “Master of None” and the HBO series "Billions" filmed a couple of episodes there as well. Likewise, the CBS series "Madam Secretary" shot an episode featuring Storm King, and it has been featured in the 2014 film "Five Dances," where it lent an ethereal quality to the narrative.

Every sculpture I encountered on my visit told its own tale. From the monumental steel structures of Mark di Suvero to the graceful curves of Menashe Kadishman's "Suspended," each art piece stood in stunning contrast and yet perfect harmony with the vivid backdrop of autumn.

Of the plethora of artworks that dotted the landscape, one that truly caught my eye was the "Mirrored Fence" by Alyson Shotz. Constructed entirely out of mirrored polished stainless steel, the piece beautifully reflected the changing colors of the surroundings, creating a unique, ever-shifting art experience. It stood as a continuous, albeit distorted, representation of the world around it, fluctuating with the light of the day, the weather, and the colors of the season.

Approaching the fence, my eyes were caught in the dazzle of reflection, and I found myself disappearing and reappearing amongst the trees and sky. The mirrored surface transformed the fence from a barrier into a canvas that painted an impressionistic image of the landscape.

Wandering further into the heart of the park, every corner seemed to be a potential discovery, and every sculpture invited introspection. From the grandeur of Richard Serra's monolithic "Schunnemunk Fork" to the haunting beauty of Ursula von Rydingsvard's cedar sculptures, the art never ceased to interact with the landscape in innovative ways.

My drive back to the city was filled with a quiet sense of satisfaction, the memories of the vibrant colors, monumental sculptures, and mirrored reflections accompanying me all the way home.

Visiting Storm King Art Center in early November, when the trees painted the landscape with their fiery hues, was an experience nothing short of magical. I discovered not just the beauty of the landscape and the intrigue of the sculptures, but the ability of both to mirror the very essence of human experience and emotion. It was, after all, not just about viewing art, but about feeling it, living it, being a part of it.


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