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MONUMENTAL EFFECTS

Waves wash over a field, as if water is suddenly made of grass. A 212-foot-long steel form vaults a meadow, its two opposing arms seemingly pinning the ground down on either side, while a towering red gateway announces the entrance to hundreds of open acres of land backdropped by mountain slopes dense with trees. The some 125–145 monumental sculptures anchored on the fields of Storm King Art Center in New York’s Hudson Valley are made mostly of steel, aluminum, or copper, yet every artwork appears animated in their articulations. While few of the forms depict anything realistic, the artworks all possess personality and character.

 

“I enjoy helping people realize that they’re just as welcome to figure out what an artwork means as anybody else,” says Nora Lawrence, senior curator at Storm King. “Anybody is allowed to feel something—and anything—about a work of art here.”

 

Unlike a museum gallery, the sculptures at Storm King are situated outdoors, throughfully and strategically positioned against the looming wall of Schunnemunk Mountain and the rolling Hudson Highlands, in which the park’s namesake peak figures. Throughout, works rest on plinths of native grasses, wildflower-strewn meadows, and manicured lawn. Works by Mark di Suvero, Robert Grosvenor, Robert Murray, Alice Aycock, Sol LeWitt, Isamu Noguchi, Louise Nevelson, and most of the major makers of monumental sculpture are included in the collection, their works often so vast that viewers can wander beneath them.

 

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WRITTEN BY DAVID MASELLO

 

This story appeared in the Fall 2019 issue of MILIEU