Art Break: Just a Short Journey North, The Hudson Valley Continues To Inspire
By A. E. Colas, Contributing Writer, August 13, 2018
The Hudson Valley has a special place in the heart of Art Break. So many of our favorite artists spent their summers in the region with friends and family, working on projects, and enjoying the beautiful landscape, just as we do today. It’s a connection across time and space to stand on a hillside or mountain trail, looking out at a landscape that inspired some of our greatest artists. You’ll find yourself wanting to capture the scenery and share it with others, just as they did. Check out the map to see how close all our picks are to New York City, making it easy to plan a quick day out using a car or Metro-North trains.
Lyndhurst Mansion, Tarrytown is commanding presence on the Hudson River. Built in the grand 19th century style of Gothic Revival, with only five owners before being bequeathed to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, this beautiful estate is open for a variety of tours Thursday – Monday. Also this summer, the mansion is presenting Becoming Tiffany: From Hudson Valley Painter to Gilded Age Tastemaker, an interesting take on Louis Comfort Tiffany’s early career and influences. And if you decide to start your weekend on Thursday, Lyndhurst offers Sunset Jazz Concerts during the summer, featuring dynamic performers performing new and classic jazz music.
Kykuit, the Rockefeller Estate, Sleepy Hollow, is a fine example of a home built for practical living as well as aesthetic pleasure. The main building on the estate was designed in a classical revival style, four stories tall and faced with local stone. The rooms are spacious, decorated with antiques and modern pieces that complement each other in interesting ways. There are four types of tours available at the estate, ranging from 90 minutes to three hours.
Manitoga: The Russel Wright Design Center, Garrison is a unique experience for house-museum visitors. The 75-acre property was owned by Russel Wright, a well-known 20th century industrial designer and on it he built a Japanese-style home with innovative details like a green roof — and this was in the 1960s! In addition, there are two miles of hiking trails that give insight into Wright’s landscaping ideas and linking up to the Appalachian Trail. Manitoga also runs an annual Artist Residency program, this year’s artist, Kazumi Tanaka, has an exhibition called Ink: The Color of Manitoga (May 18 – November 12). She uses natural materials to create inks for paintings, blending art and science for a fine tribute to Wright’s legacy.
Storm King Art Center, New Windsor should be on every art lover’s bucket list. This outstanding museum has 500 acres of land with a variety of terrain, giving artists and sculptures a degree of latitude that few institutions can match. The permanent collection is a who’s who of the international sculpture scene, containing more than 80 artists spanning over 70 years of artistic ideas and movements. Two special exhibitions are on view at this time: Indicators: Artists on Climate Change (May 19 – November 11) and Outlooks: Elaine Cameron-Weir (May 19 – November 25).
CSS Bard Hessel Museum, Annandale-on-Hudson is a hidden gem of the Hudson Valley. About two hours from New York City, this small college has an outstanding museum that is both a training facility for tomorrow’s museum professionals as well as a exceptional opportunity for locals to see great contemporary art. On display now is The Conditions of Being Art: Pat Hearn Gallery and American Fine Arts Co. (1983 – 2004) (June 23 – December 14), an examination of these two groundbreaking galleries’ history and achievements in promoting contemporary art. During the summer, the museum is open weekends only, details are here.
Opus 40 Sculpture Park and Garden, Saugerties, is a site dedicated to the work of Harvey Fite, a noted American sculptor and beloved teacher at Bard College. One of the pioneers of environmental art, he began using a disused quarry as a workshop in the 1930s, expanding and refining his theories and practice. When Opus 40 was opened to the public in 1977, the foundation chose to leave it as close to the original look as possible – as a result, there is a rough and ready feel to the place, as though the workers were on break and returning soon. The site has limited hours (although group tours may be arranged on other days): Thursday through Sunday from Memorial Day to Columbus Day.
Thomas Cole National Historic Site, Catskill, is a fitting tribute to the creator of this country’s first artistic movement, the Hudson River School of landscape art. The museum uses modern technology in a traditional gallery setting providing new insights for visitors to learn about the area and history that inspired Cole. There are guided tours that lead to spots immortalized in his paintings or you can do a walk on your own with the help of the Hudson River School Art Trail website. Two exhibitions representing old and new takes on artistic creation are currently on view: Picturesque and Sublime: Thomas Cole’s Trans-Atlantic Inheritance (May 1 – November 4) and Spectrum (August 14 – November 18).
Cover: View of the South Fields at Storm King Art Center; all works by Mark di Suvero; (l. to r.) ‘Pyramidian,’ 1987/1998; ‘She,’ 1977-1978; courtesy the artist and Spacetime C.C., NY; ‘Mon Père, Mon Père,’ 1973-75; ‘Mother Peace,’ 1969-70; except where noted, all works Gift of the Ralph E. Ogden Foundation. ©Mark di Suvero, courtesy the artist and Spacetime C.C., NY; photo: Jerry L. Thompson.