PHOTOGRAPHY HANS & ALAÏA FONK | TEXT HANS FONK
It is more than just a park where sculpture is displayed. It is an art work in its own right. Storm King Art Center in the Hudson Highlands near Mountainville in the American state of New York is celebration of modern sculpture for which famous artists have created works in situ. Isamu Noguchi made his Momo Taro there, Richard Serra his Schunnemunk Fork, Andy Goldsworthy his Storm King Wall and Maya Lin her Storm King Wavefield.
Storm King was conceived by Ralph E. Ogden and Peter Stern; what they have created is one of the world’s most beautiful sculpture gardens – to which the landscape architect, William A. Rutherford, contributed by designing the ultimate natural theatre there.
OBJEKT©International was shown round the park by George Beylerian, the man who was recently inducted into the Hall of Fame at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York.
Storm King Art Center is a symphony of nature and art, with a ‘musical score’ covering some 500 acres. It is a work of art in its own right, a creation inspired by the vision of Ralph E. Ogden and Peter Stern. They acquired the weekend estate of their friend Vermont Hatch and went on to make their artistic dream come true. The Art Center opened its doors to the public in 1960.
At that stage the estate, set among the rolling hills of the Hudson Highlands, was about a third of its present size. Together with the landscape architect, William A. Rutherford, they built a natural theatre of meadows and woodland which not only serves as a backcloth for the art, but also places the objects in a fitting context. The Art Center is located in the small town of Mountainville some 50 miles north of the George Washington Bridge in New York City.
It is, without a doubt, one of the most impressive sculpture parks in the world. It is a celebration of modern sculpture and contains more than a hundred post-Second World War works. Visitors are absorbed into a breathtaking setting in which the dimensions of the landscape, the sky and the art works have a mutually reinforcing effect. Every season and every type of weather provides a different, unique experience. Since the park was opened, each individual object has been given its own, carefully selected place, in which it can interact with the natural surroundings.
Recently, the planting in the open area has been the focus of attention. Today you will find native grasses and expanses of heather. As a result the space can be maintained more efficiently, but in addition, a mosaic of textures has come about that, with the changing seasons, makes for varying, enthralling vistas.
In 1972 Storm King began its own permanent collection of monumental sculptures, including commissioned works that were made specifically for the site. The policy was geared to providing a clear picture of the corpus of sculpture from the second half of the twentieth century. Thirteen pieces by David Smith form the cornerstone of the collection, which also includes works by Alexander Calder, Sol LeWitt, Henry Moore, Louise Nevelson and Isamu Noguchi. The collection has been further extended to comprise sculptures by modern artists such as Magdalena Abakanowicz, Alice Aycock, Louise Bourgeois, Mark di Suvero, Andy Goldsworthy, Robert Grosvenor, Maya Lin, Nam June Paik, Richard Serra, Kenneth Snelson and Ursula von Rydingsvard.