There’s a reason art museums and centers are huge attractions in society. Art, many will agree, is vital to our very existence. While physics, chemistry, and the hard sciences explain how stuff operates, and history describes life as it was, it is an art that permits us to share our emotions, perceptions, and all our unspoken sentiments. In this respect, art is like an x-ray of the subconscious. Granted, speech is also a profoundly delightful medium. Yet speech can fail or flounder. A picture, we’ve always been told, is worth a thousand words.
New York, both state and city—has always had the reputation of being a museum Mecca. This is because of the sheer number and range of museums as well as other historical and cultural societies. In this article, we shine a spotlight on one of its gems; the Storm King Art Center—and indicate why it’s worth visiting.
Here’s Why You Should Visit Storm King Art Center
Storm King Art Museum has the reputation of being among the planet’s leading sculpture parks. And that’s crucial because Storm King is not a museum in the typical sense of the word. Instead, it’s a park. And a sculpture park, for that matter. Unlike museums, sculpture gardens or parks showcase aesthetic marvels in the open air, in a big-enough room to roam—without the confines of glasses or high, gloomy walls. For those who’ve experienced the charm of sculpture parks anywhere, Storm King is a real gem. For parents with kids, it’s paradise. This is because children have the opportunity to wonder about—running and playing—while simultaneously absorbing color and form.
Spread out on a sprawling 500-acre piece of land, the grounds on which Storm King sits are a picture of serenity, elegance, and style. Admiring the works of human genius under the open skies is an experience to treasure. This incredible fusion of art and nature, where one serves as the backdrop to the other—is one of the museum’s most appealing aspects. And then there’s the impressive collection. Storm King specializes in modern and contemporary art, from large-scale sculptures placed on the museum’s spacious grounds—to site-specific works that include beautiful drawings and amazing photographs. At Storm Park, art beckons from every direction, and there are benches and several shaded areas where one can take it all in.
Here’s Storm King’s Untold Story
When he died in 1974, the New York Times described Ralph Ogden as a “manufacturer and art patron.” The order may have been deliberate, for Ralph Ogden was a manufacturer first before he would become an art patron. He founded and ran the Star Expansion Company, whose main interest was manufacturing metal fasteners in rural Mountainville, New York. Miles away, a son of Jewish parents who had fled from Hitler’s rancor would settle in the United States, going on to earn degrees from Harvard and Yale.
Peter Stern would eventually marry Ogden’s daughter, most likely the only one. But feeling unhappy and unfulfilled with his career trajectory, he jumped at the chance of joining his father-in-law in the metal fasteners business in the Hudson River valley—eventually becoming the company’s president in 1958 before buying it out later. Ralph Ogden was on the moon. “I've made enough money,” he would remark. “Now I want to start spending it.” He would buy a 180-acre estate on which a friend had built a Normandy-style château. This property later became the core of Storm King. Again, Stern followed his father-in-law.
In 1960, the center opened its doors. The initial plan was to exhibit paintings. But that changed when Ogden visited an Austrian marble quarry, a visit which sparked his interest in sculpture.
Here’s What To Know Before Visiting Storm King
From a distance, one doesn’t get the slightest inkling of any serious structure—leave alone one as impressive as the Storm King. The landscape spread out is that of rolling hills and expansive meadows. Before long, a huge, long-limbed structure emerges from the sweeping greenery. It turns out it’s the Pyramidian—the tallest di Suvero sculpture in Storm King's permanent collection.
- Where Is Storm King Art Center Located? Storm King is located in Mountainville, N.Y., some 55 mi (89 km) north of New York City.
- How Much Is A Ticket To Storm King? Ticketing at Storm King is per vehicle and number of passengers in a vehicle. A one-passenger vehicle is charged $23. The amount doubles up for a two-passenger vehicle.
Storm King has more than a hundred sculptures from various contemporary artists. One of the most impressive sights is the sculptures of David Smith, considered by many to be the most important American sculptor of his generation. Although there’ll be more crowds, fall is the best time to visit the park. Here’s the truth. Storm King is, by all accounts, worth a visit. And it’s special in more ways than one.