A Day of Art Along the Hudson

By William Haseltine

Saturday, the first official day New York summer summer, I took a day trip up the Hudson. The first stop Beacon New York, about an hour an a half drive through beautiful country. Beacon can also be reached by train, the Metro North Line that leaves from Grand Central Station. To enjoy a river view on the way, find a seat on the left side of the train.

First stop, Mike and Doug Starn's latest project "Big Bambu". Big and bamboo only begin to describe this remarkable construction. Hundreds of bamboo poles, big and small, are lashed together to create a sculpture about 40 feet wide, 60 feet high and 150 feet long. Mountaineers and steeplechases continually rig and re-rig the structure. As one end is completed, the other is disassembled. The entire sculpture walks down the enormous sheltering shed of what was the Tallix Foundry. Big Bambu is open to the public the second Saturday of every month, June through October, or by appointment. The address is 310 Fishkill Avenue Beacon, New York. To learn more about Big Bambu visit www.starnstudio.com .

Next stop Dia:Beacon, a museum of the Dia Art Foundation, located just a few minutes walk from the train station overlooking the Hudson. The museum is housed in a 240,000 square foot industrial complex that was formerly a box printing factor. The galleries are spacious, open an airy. A founding concept is to display contemporary art in a specific architectural context. Almost all the works are permanent installations. Works by most of the icons of the 1970s trough 1990s are here, including those of Bernd and Hilla Becher, Joseph Beuys, Louise Bourgeois, John Chamberlin, Dan Flavin, Michael Heizer, Robert Irwin, Donald Judd, On Kawara, Imi Knoebel, Sol LeWitt, Bruce Nauman, Max Neuhaus, Blinky Palermo, Gerhard Richter, Robert Ryman, Fred Sanback, Richard Serra, Robert Smithson, George Trakas, Andy Warhol and Lawrence Weiner. The space allows multiple works by each artist to be displayed as a group. Particularly notable are four massive aligned core ten steel sculptures by Richard Serra. Each creates is own secret wrap around space. Michael Heizer's North South East West descending sculptures can be viewed up close by the intrepid by special appointment. The fixed nature of the exhibits provides a snapshot in time of this exciting period in art. T

he Storm King Art Center is an outdoor sculpture garden across the Hudson, about a twenty minute drive from Beacon. Storm King presents collection of more than 100 sculptures sprinkled over the rolling hills of a beautiful estate. Work by more the seventy artists active between 1960s through the early 1990s is on display, including works of Alexander Calder, Mark Di Suvero, Andy Goldsworthy, Alexander Leiberman, Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, Louise Nevelson, David Smith, Isaac Witkin, Richard Serra, Charles Simonds. The works can been viewed from a distance or up close and personal. Some may be rung like a gong! All are set in an ideal landscape, perfect for strolling and picnicking. A trolley is also available to provide guided tours for those who don't wish to walk the grounds. T

he most recent addition to Storm King, "Wavefield" by Maya Lin, opened earlier this month. The work is comprised of earthen mounds shaped into adjacent rills, covered with grass and clover, nestled into a large open semicircular earthen amphitheater. The work can be viewed from above resonating to the surrounding hills, or from within giving the wanderer the impression of a seafarer adrift amongst towering waves. Wavefield departs from traditional Storm King offerings as it represents the art of the 21st century and is in and of the earth not apart or above nature. Storm King is open Wednesday-Sunday 11:00-5:30. The GPS address for those arriving by car is 1 Museum Road, New Windsor, New York.

I left the city at 9:30AM and returned by 4:00 PM. I can think of no better way to enjoy a relaxing day in the country.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2009/05/a-day-of-art-along-the-hudson/18218/