I understand from my friends and family stateside, autumn is starting to emerge. There is no sign of fall here in old Italia, it’s still hot and it’s been humid and muggy, a heat the Florentines call “afa.” I spend a not inconsiderable time pining for cooler weather sitting in front of my fan, particularly when I’m writing for this here blog. Since I started the blog I’ve spent significantly more time perusing my iphoto library uploading and choosing photos than I ever have. And those perusals reminded me of a trip I took last fall about this time to Storm King Sculpture Park (stormking.org) in the Hudson River Valley. It is surreally beautiful. Especially, especially in autumn.
So here (since I figured you didn’t want to see photos of the library or my language school or the kitchen table where I’ve been chained to my computer recently) are a few images in which you can bask in the wonders of Storm King and fall in the northeastern US:
One of the amazing things about Storm King is that it’s completely accessible, you can wander following your own whims over the hills and see the sculptures up close. You can picnic in the grass with a bottle of wine, or meander with your headphones on. It’s a supremely civilized way to view art and these are major artworks by major artists, like Maya Lin’s Waves:
As someone who studies art for their living, it is so easy to get caught up in the tiny details of a specific niche and forget how magisterial art can be when it’s out in the open, free for all to see, experience, and understand in their own way. I think there are affinities between the way art is put on display at Storm King– without much fanfare, or extensive explanation/analysis, it’s just there, and the way art is integral to the Italian experience.
You can’t avoid art when you’re in Italy, it’s EVERYWHERE. Even if you tried, a Renaissance sculpture or a Baroque facade or a Classical ruin would creep up on you and compel you to think about the marvels of human creation and creativity. Sometimes in the United States art (and its attendant beauty) is too removed from everyday life, and one has to put real effort into seeking it out, whether at the museum, or even better, at a place like Storm King. Art is at its best when its accessible, even to the point of over-saturation. I mentioned in a post from a few days ago that I’ve already become a bit immune to all the glories of Florence (read about it here), but in the case of art accessibility, the feast for the eyes that is on display here (and is typical of most places I’ve seen in Europe) seems infinitely preferable to the famine that most of the US suffers from.
Luckily Storm King isn’t starving for art or beauty. Thankfully neither am I and hopefully neither are you. In the meantime, buon finesettimana! I have my eyes on a few day trips this weekend, which will hopefully, hopefully work out… so look forward to that next week!