Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Artist(s) of the Week: Storm King

Kenneth Snelson, Free Ride Home, 1974

Two weeks ago while upstate for Lesley and Galen’s wedding, my mom graciously allowed us to stay at her place in nearby Kingston for the weekend. Ever since she moved to the area a few years back, we’ve done the drive up 87 countless times, and every time we’re around the half way mark, I see the sign and whine, “I wanna go to Storm King!” Inevitably the visit is already jam-packed with plans that won’t allow for such an excursion, but this particular weekend, the timing couldn’t have been more perfect.

Mom packed a picnic with all of my favorites (curry chicken salad, potato salad, deviled eggs—mayonnaise is a major food group in our family fun time) and we headed for Storm King, the giant outdoor sculpture park in New Windsor, NY.

Being on the heels of Irene, we spent the entire afternoon tromping through the wet grass and muck, and only covered about a quarter of the place, but we got to see some incredible sculptures that I’d only read about before.

There were, of course, the iconic Mark di Suvero sculptures that are all over the park’s brochures. They photographed nicely.

Louise Nevelson has always been one of my favorite artists. Ok, maybe not always, but she did leave an immediate and indelible impression on me when I saw her work at the Jewish Museum back in 2007. Typically she works in monochromes, assembling found objects and scraps of wood into large scale sculptures and then painting the whole thing one flat color. Her hulking metal work positioned outside the museum building, City on the High Mountain, was just fantastic. I really loved that even though it was all one dull black color, from different angles, and depending on how the light hit it, certain parts of it looked almost gray. Side note: Nevelson often wore multiple sets of false eyelashes on the reg. I totally love that about her.

The real highlight was Storm King Wall by Andy Goldsworthy. Built from 1997-1998, the hand-laid stone wall drives straight down one steep hill, disappearing into a pond, emerging on the other side to snake its way up another hill, winding in and out among the trees. 

Goldsworthy has always (really this time) been one of my favorites, his place in my heart only further solidified after I saw this scene from a documentary on his work and process called Rivers and Tides

He would spend all day making a work out in the wild, painstakingly constructing something elaborate and graceful out of just the materials he finds nearby, to have it all of a sudden crash down around him. And the next day he just starts the process all over again. I really admire the quiet beauty of his work, and the fact that he creates art that maybe no one will ever see (except reproduced in photograph), all held together with a lick and a promise. Then when the wind blows, it takes the whole piece with it. It exists for that moment, and then in an instant, it's gone. That, to me, is true art. 

- Cathleen 


  1. Goldsworthy was a huge inspiration for me in college when I was working on my senior show. He is really amazing.

  2. I watched Rivers and Tides just a few months ago. My favorites were the sculptures he would make from ice on the beach and that sweet igloo thing made from drift wood. Cool movie.


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