Dreaming of Storm King

The front page of The New York Times art section this morning has a large photo of Maya Lin’s outdoor installation, “Storm King Wavefield” at Storm King Arts Center in Mountainville, New York (one hour north of Manhattan). “The work, which had its debut in May 2009, is made up of seven parallel rows of long, undulating, grass-covered earthen mounds” according to the article. The photograph makes it look like a verdant ocean of gently rolling swells. It’s beautiful in its simplicity.

I’m struck by the timing of this article. For me, September represents transition and change–the end of carefree and the return to structure. Storm King embodies these themes. Its monumental sculptures are set on 500 acres surrounded by the tumbling hills of the Hudson Highlands.  The sculptures I always return to: Mark di Suvero’s Pyramidian, made of massive steel I-beams; Isamu Noguchi’s Momo Taro, a nine-piece, 40-ton stone grouping; and David Smith’s steel and bronze works represent immutability against their always-mutable backdrop—the sky, the light, the wind, and the landscape. In times of transition (and my favorite time to visit Storm King is September) these sculptures have symbolized solidity. They have provided me with solace.

But “Storm King Wavefield” seems to send a different message. It’s both steadfast and morphing. Its underlying form is permanent, but its outer layer, grass, is not–it grows, it yellows, and it moves. Maybe this newest sculpture, one of the few made by a woman at Storm King, is offering me something new this September.

(What? I’m not sure. When I see it in person, I’ll get back to you.)

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