Each year, on the first Saturday of the program, Art Ready students take a bus trip to Dia: Beacon and Storm King Art Center in upstate New York. These unique art spaces challenge traditional notions of the museum: Dia: Beacon is a converted factory building divided into different galleries, each showcasing a single artist’s sculpture and installation work, much of it designed to respond to the building’s architecture and natural surroundings.
Art Ready students received a guided tour of Dia featuring works by Louise Bourgeois, Andy Warhol, Robert Smithson, and Sol Lewitt, among other notable artists. Coincidentally, our guide, Charlotte Schulz, had had her own solo show at Smack Mellon the year before! Students especially enjoyed walking through Richard Serra’s steel slab installations that created maze-like tunnels in one of the galleries.
The bus then took the group to the nearby Storm King Art Center in the hilly Hudson Highlands of Mountainville, NY. Storm King is a an outdoor museum that “celebrates the relationship between sculpture and nature.” It features huge sculptures by internationally renowned artists situated on 500 acres of landscaped lawns, fields, and woodlands. Storm King is especially striking in the fall, with the bright and earthy tones of the sculptures set against a backdrop of changing autumn leaves.
The group took a walk through some of the main Storm King lawns, passing by various Mark DiSuvero sculptures, most as tall as skyscrapers and some interactive like Beethoven’s Quartet (2003) which can be “played” by visitors.
We made sure to pass by Andy Goldsworthy’s famous Storm King Wall (1997), and Maya Lin’s Storm King Wave Field (2007-2008), a rolling earthwork. Like many of the works we saw at Dia, these outdoor sculptures are also site-specific, designed to harmoniously complement Storm King’s natural landscape. For example, the Storm King Wall was built to curve around specific trees along its path, disappear under the adjacent river and re-surface on the other side of the water.
We made final stops at some of the newest additions to Storm King this year, including the intriguing Three Legged Buddha (2007) by Zhang Huan.
We also made a quick stop outside the Storm King museum building, which features some rotating indoor and outdoor exhibits of smaller sculpture. We took the glass elevator back down to the bus, enjoying some final bird’s eye views of the entire park.