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A Review | Museum Meetup | Storm King Art Center
I felt a lot like Alice tumbling down the rabbit hole towards Wonderland; I imagined that long tumble could give anyone a little motion sickness. As the bus curved and winded its way towards Storm King Art Center, feeling a little queasy, I kept my eyes forward as we left the bustling of the city and were embraced by trees blooming with fall foliage. Upon arrival, once I stepped out onto the sculpture park’s grounds, crisp air filled my lungs and the queasiness emptied with every exhale. We were enclosed in a wonderland filled with art’s giants that peppered a vast, hilly space, amongst trees like painted fire, with rich indian yellows and deep crimson reds.
Our group was a led on a brief expedition by Curatorial Assistant and CU Alum, Sarah Diver (‘16GSAS) to see Josephine Halvorson’s (‘07SOA) site-specific Measures series. I couldn’t help but define my experience traversing the valleys like that of a visitor to a Surrealist nirvana of art. Walking through an open field of grass, a bright yellow measuring stick appeared in the distance. Sarah told us to take a moment to really look at what we saw in the distance, and while we crept closer, to pay attention to how different details change our experience. To me, it seemed simple: There is a large-scale measuring stick on top of that hill. Even though hills have curves, like many of nature’s landscapes, there are moments of flatness and direct, long angles to be measured. By changing the proportion of a mundane object, i.e. yardstick/ ruler, maybe the artist is getting at the every-day we fail to notice. It felt complex in its simplicity, and the closer we approached Josephine Halvorson’s Measures, curiosity overwhelmed me. Halvorson’s usage of trompe l’oeil is mind blowing, what felt like a machine-made measuring stick, was all hand painted, with little details, such as specifically placed symbols whose meaning is only defined and known by the artist herself. Our group noticed these details, we talked about our shared experiences with measuring and the prosaic, which triggered a discussion about the ranging levels of intimacy and perception.
Because we were intrigued by Halvorson’s work and its evocative nature, Sarah was kind enough to walk me and a few others to the two additional works that completed the series. With each work we visited, my ephemeral experiences became more perplexing and convoluted. My interactions with Halvorson's work informed my encounters with the rest of the works at Storm King. I began to question and interpret how I defined many of the sculptures at Storm King and my relationship to them: Do I see all of these works of art as existing as a part of the landscape or simply visitors to the vast space? According to Halvorson, this type of contemplation and debate is something she strives to achieve in her works, explaining, “I like the way that art serves as a perceptual measure—of the conditions for experience and of one’s own body. I want these painted sculptures to heighten an individual’s curiosity of the environment, and their place within it. Storm King is a special site where one can understand scale in many ways: through distance and proximity, duration and seasonality, and of course history, of both art and nature.” (Halvorson, Storm King Art Center, 2016).
Storm King Art Center is located in New Windsor, NY, about an hour away from the city; I definitely recommend making Storm King an all-day adventure. For more information on hours, directions, and events, please visit Storm King’s website here.
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Image credit (from top): Menashe Kadishman, Suspended, 1977, Weathering Steel, 23' x 33' x 48', Gift of the Muriel and Philip I. Berman, photo by Carianna Arredondo. Landscape shot, Storm King Art Center, photo by Carianna Arredondo. Museum Meetup Group with Sarah Diver (artwork pictured: Josephine Halvorson, Measure, 2016), photo by Carianna Arredondo.