Explore the Hudson Valley

Experience The Hudson Valley

Hudson Valley Art Bucket List

  |   September 1, 2020  |  Comment

Pictured above: Survivor Love Letter by Jess X. Snow and Layqa Nuna Yawar for the O+ Festival. 40 Thomas Street, Kingston

The Hudson Valley is a place that connects the first art movement in the United States—the Hudson River School of painting—with the work of the renowned contemporary artists who live here, like Martin Puryear and Kiki Smith, and the world-class venues that showcase their work, like Storm King Art Center. We’ve compiled a list of the works that any art lover visiting the region shouldn’t miss out on.  

Torqued Ellipses, Richard Serra, Dia Beacon

Serra, a sculptor known for his monumental metal works does not disappoint with Torqued Ellipses, four of which are on view at Dia Beacon, along with several other works by Serra. The museum’s massive 300,000 square-foot exhibition space is perfectly suited to the contorted steel plates that surround and confound visitors. The works are so big it’s hard to take them in—both physically and conceptually—which skews one’s perceptions enough to make their contemplation a bit like wrestling with the divine.

Opus 40, Harvey Fite, Saugerties

The masterwork of artist Harvey Fite, Opus 40 is an astounding 6.5-acre bluestone sculpture and earth artwork amidst nearly 60 acres of meadows, forested paths and bluestone quarries in Saugerties. (The “40” in the title refers to the number of years Fite thought it would take him to complete his vision; he died tragically 37 years into working on it. Breathtaking in scope and execution, the structure is carved from an existing quarry and built by hand by Fite to frame a view of Overlook Mountain. Think of it as the Stonehenge of North America, a testament to one’s man relentless creative drive to birth a lasting natural wonder.

Storm King Wall, Andy Goldsworthy, Storm King Art Center

There are many iconic outdoor sculptures to delight the senses at Storm King, from David Smith’s wry metal abstractions to Mark di Suvero’s I-beam constructions to Maya Lin’s undulating earthwork to Zhang Huan’s self-portrait as buddha. A piece that’s often overlooked at the Orange County sculpture park is Andy Goldsworthy’s Storm King Wall, constructed in 1997 and `98. Grounded in Goldsworthy’s nature-based methodology, the wall is comprised of 1,579 tons of fieldstone gathered on the property, stacked without mortar. The sculpture winds around trees and into (and out of) a pond, totaling almost 2,278 feet in length. As you’re traveling along the New York State Thruway, the wall’s western edge can be seen at the fence separating Storm King from the highway.

Maverick Horse, John Flanagan, Maverick Concert Hall

The name “Maverick” came to be used over the years for the collaborative colony for artists that Hervey White established on the outskirts of Woodstock in 1905; with Byrdcliffe, these communities formed the Woodstock Art Colony and established the town as a creative bastion. The Maverick Concert Hall, built in 1916 and home to one of the nation’s oldest chamber music festivals, now houses John Flanagan’s Maverick Horse, an 18-foot-tall depiction of a horse emerging from the outstretched hands of a man who appears, in turn, to be emerging from the earth. Using only an axe, Flanagan carved the entire sculpture from the trunk of a chestnut tree in only a few days. It is now the most enduring expression of Hervey White’s original Maverick colony.

O+ Murals, Kingston

With the mission of bringing healthcare to uninsured artists, the inaugural O+ Festival was held in Kingston in 2010. The splashy event took over Kingston every October (until this year; thanks, pandemic), attracting attendees from all parts of the globe while providing free health and wellness clinics to the participating musicians and artists. One lasting outcome of the festivals is the proliferation of murals throughout the city. Over the past decade, nearly 50 murals have been painted in the city—art ranging from paintings 100-feet tall by internationally acclaimed muralists like Gaia to smaller murals by local students—making Kingston a destination for public art.

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