Art Day: A Visit to Storm King & Dia:Beacon

by Kate Lauterbach (Madewell)

The mesmerizing Alexander Liberman piece, Adonai (1970–1971), at Storm King Art Center.

I recently experienced what I would consider the perfect fall day in upstate New York, wandering around the art collections at Dia:Beacon and then exploring the sculpture park at Storm King by bike. After growing up in and out of museums with my mother (an artist), I’ve developed a funny affection for museum cafés—especially if they serve a decent cappuccino—and the one at Dia:Beacon didn’t disappoint. Of course, it didn’t hurt that the neighboring bookshop stocked a perfect selection of art and architecture books and exhibition catalogs.

As you turn the corner from the stark Blinky Palermo retrospective, you walk right into Imi Knoebel’s 24 Colors—for Blinky, 1977 (above). He created these works shortly after Blinky’s untimely death in 1977 as an homage to his great friend.

After strolling through the landscaped garden, we entered the Riggio galleries, housed in a former Nabisco printing factory. Similar to the Tate Modern, Dia:Beacon showcases art from the 1960s to the present in single dedicated artist spaces. This means entire rooms become a single world, which, in my opinion, is the most fulfilling way to experience an artist’s work. Of all the great exhibits, I was most taken by the Blinky Palermo retrospective—the first in North America!—which is on display through October 31st. (I must’ve spent an hour in this part of the museum.) Other installations not to miss are Michael Heizer’s North, East, South, West, Richard Serra’s mind-blowing Union of the Torus and the Sphere (made especially for the space) and Louise Bourgeois’ Maman (a 30-foot-tall bronze spider).

An untitled Dan Flavin sculpture (1970) lights up in front of Robert Irwin’s window treatment.

Next stop: Storm King Art Center. The weather was perfect for a day spent biking around all 500 acres of the sculpture garden: blue skies, crisp air and leaves just beginning to change (a phenomenon that never ceases to amaze this Texas-bred girl). We rented cruiser bikes and zig-zagged across the grounds, taking in every installation, each view more breathtaking than the next.

These Mark di Suvero sculptures in the South Field were my hands-down favorite.

But I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that a big highlight of the trip was the end. Why? Because it involved two Applegate Farms organic hot dogs and half of a braised brisket sandwich. The proof:

Last thing: Storm King closes for the season on November 13th and doesn’t open again until the spring, so hurry up and go see it!

Roy Lichtenstein’s racing sailboatMermaid (1994), which actually competed in the 1995 America’s Cup.