By Chris Chagaris

Rolling Hills, and art to run around


The spring season has kicked off with a new exhibition at Storm King Art Center, the large-scale sculpture garden spanning 500 acres of hills and fields in Mountainville, NY. The work of American sculptor Chakaia Booker, which has been shown in such places as The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Studio Museum in Harlem, The Bronx Museum of the Arts, and overseas, will be on display starting May 12, and will stay on view throughout the 2004 season, which ends on November 14. Booker’s grand sculptures are composed entirely of cast-off bicycle, truck and car tires. The natural light of the outdoor display highlights the tires’ black color. Storm King is home to over 100 pieces by many noted sculptors, including Alexander Calder, David Smith, and Louise Nevelson, all created post World War II. Weather and seasonal conditions influence the display of the sculptures, which can vary in appearance from one visit to the next. Ralph E. Ogden and H. Peter Stern, who co-owned the Star Expansion Company, established Storm King Art Center in 1960. Stern acts as current chair and president; Ogden passed away in 1974. The art center’s namesake is Storm King Mountain, located a short distance away. The Hudson River School of artists enjoyed painting this mountain, with its prominent slope and peak. Ogden had initially intended the museum to house works by Hudson River painters; however, upon a later visit to an artist’s sculpture studio in upstate New York, it was decided that the center would display sculptures set against the hilly backdrop of Mountainville. Some of the pieces are set into landscapes expressly created to highlight their uniqueness and to present them to their best advantage. An indoor space is home to smaller sculptures and displays. This building is reminiscent of a French chateau and also houses a museum gift shop and information center. The grounds of Storm King boast trails and walking paths visitors can enjoy while marveling at the colossal works of art that dot the landscape, framed only by earth and sky. It is suggested that visitors set aside at least two hours to fully enjoy the park. Storm King Art Center is open Wednesday-Sunday, April 1-November 14. Hours: April 1-October 30, 11am-5:30pm; October 31-November 14, 11am-5pm; May 29-September 4 grounds are open till 8pm Saturdays only. Admission: adults $10; seniors and college students (with a valid ID) $9; students (K-12) $7; free admission for members and children under 5. Directions and information on Storm King’s programs can be found by visiting, or calling (845) 534-3115.