Storm King Art Center

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South Fields
Alexander Liberman, Adonai, 1970-1971, a sculpture at Storm King Art Center

The Storm King Art Center, named because of its proximity to Storm King Mountain, is an open-air museum located in Mountainville, New York. It contains what is perhaps the largest collection of contemporary outdoor sculpture in the United States. Founded in 1960 by Ralph E. Ogden as a museum for Hudson River School paintings, it soon evolved into a major sculpture venue with works from some of the most acclaimed artists of our time. [1] The site is approximately 500 acres (2.0 km2)and located about an hour north of Manhattan. [2]


In early 1958, after retiring from a successful career in the family business, Star Expansion Company, Ralph E. Ogden purchased what would soon become Storm King Art Center, a 180-acre estate in Mountainville, New York.[3] In 1960, he opened his land to the public and began the collection with a number of small sculptures he acquired in Europe. In 1967, with the purchase of thirteen pieces from sculptor David Smith, the collection was firmly established. [4] The first sculptures were exhibited around the main building, but as time passed the collection expanded out into the landscape, of which the sculptures became an integral part. The landscape and the main house were redesigned and molded early on by landscape architect William Rutherford and his wife Joyce Rutherford, and later by Ogden’s previous business partner Peter Stern, who had become the center’s chairman and president, and by David Collins, the center’s director. [5]

Peter Stern continued to run the center after Ogden’s death in 1974, and added many of the center’s most well known pieces. [6]

In 1975, five monumental works by Mark di Suvero were saved from being dismantled and packed away when Peter Stern asked the artist if the sculptures could be displayed at Storm King after the conclusion of the exhibition in New York through the Whitney Museum of American Art. The pieces are now part of the center’s core collection and are on prominent display in the South Fields. [7] The center continued to grow throughout the late 1900s as sculptures were added to the permanent collection and the center exhibited works in circulation from other museums . For example, the MoMA loaned four sculptures to the center for a year-long exhibition when it underwent construction on its sculpture garden in 1982.[8]

The original 250 acres of land was expanded in 1985, when the Star Expansion Company donated two tracts of land for the center’s 25th anniversary. The largest parcel of land was composed of 2,300 acres on the nearby Schunnemunk Mountain, which is the backdrop for many of the center’s monumental sculptures, and is an important part of the character of the center and its landscape. The second gift was a one hundred-acre piece of farmland directly adjacent to the center and was used to house new additions to the collection.. [9]


The core collection includes pieces by modern masters such as Alexander Calder,[10] David Smith,[11] Mark di Suvero,[12] Henry Moore,[13] Isamu Noguchi,[14] Richard Serra,[15] and Louise Nevelson.[16]

These are joined with more recent large-scale sculptures by contemporary sculptors including Magdalena Abakanowicz,[17] Alice Aycock,[18] Andy Goldsworthy,[19] Alexander Liberman,[20] Sol LeWitt, and Roy Lichtenstein.[21] Maya Lin's "Storm King Wavefield" (2009), is one of the newest additions to the collection and consists of seven long rows of undulating land forms.

Free Ride Home

The Grounds[edit]

The permanent collection of monumental works is situated throughout the grounds in four main areas, or large outdoor rooms: the North Woods, a wooded section in the northeast corner of the property; Museum Hill, an elevated portion on the east edge of the property along the Moodna Creek with views of the surrounding land and its sculptures; the Meadows, which makes up the western edge of the park and includes the parks entrance; and the South Fields, which is an open expanse to the southwest.

The landscape of Storm King Art Center has been in a state of flux from the very beginning. The expanse of rolling hills blanketed with grass and tall trees may look natural, but it was carefully molded to form the perfect setting for each of the monumental works of art. The plateau on which stands the 1935 residence[22] designed after a Norman chateau (later converted to the museum building), was torn apart in the 1950s by bulldozers gathering gravel for the construction of the New York State Thruway, and had to be rebuilt when the land became a sculpture park.[23] Also, the addition of new site-specific works to the collection meant constant changes to the landscape.


Storm King Art Center offers numerous programs and benefits for both members and everyday visitors to the grounds. There are places to sit and eat. You can rent bicycles and ride around the center, or you can sit back and relax in one of the trams that circulate around the park. Members enjoy free admission, and while the center is closed in the winter, members have the unique opportunity to go on winter walks and see the sculptures blanketed in snow. [24]

Inspired by Storm King[edit]

The Storm King site has been identified by collector Alan Gibbs as one source of inspiration for his private outdoor sculpture museum and landscape in New Zealand.

Coordinates: 41°25′31″N 74°03′33″W / 41.42514°N 74.05930°W / 41.42514; -74.05930


  1. ^ Reed, Christopher. "Storm King." Harvard Magazine. Harvard Magazine Inc., July 1999. Web
  2. ^ "About Storm King." Storm King Art Center. Storm King Art Center, 2011. Web.
  3. ^ Reed, Christopher. "Storm King." Harvard Magazine. Harvard Magazine Inc., July 1999. Web
  4. ^ NYC Arts.PBS. WNET, New Jersey. 4 Oct. 2012. Television.
  5. ^ Wagenknecht-Harte, Kay. Site + Sculpture: The Collaborative Design Process. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1989. Print.
  6. ^ Reed, Christopher. "Storm King." Harvard Magazine. Harvard Magazine Inc., July 1999. Web.
  7. ^ NYC Arts.PBS. WNET, New Jersey. 4 Oct. 2012. Television.
  8. ^ "MoMA Sculpture on Loan during Expansion." MoMA.21 (1982): p. 3. Print.
  9. ^ McGill, Douglas C. " Storm King Art Center Given 2 Parcels of Land.” New York Times 9 Dec 1985. Web.
  10. ^ Storm King website, information on Alexander Calder pieces
  11. ^ Storm King website, information on David Smith pieces
  12. ^ Storm King website, information on Mark di Suvero pieces
  13. ^ Storm King website, information on Henry Moore piece
  14. ^ Storm King website, information on Isamu Noguchi piece
  15. ^ Storm King website, information on Richard Serra piece(s)
  16. ^ Storm King website, information on Louise Nevelson piece(s)
  17. ^ Storm King website, information on Magdalena Abakanowicz piece(s)
  18. ^ Storm King website, information on Alice Aycock piece(s)
  19. ^ Storm King website, information on Andy Goldsworthy piece(s)
  20. ^ Storm King website, information on Alexander Liberman piece(s)
  21. ^ Storm King website, information on Roy Lichtenstein piece(s)
  22. ^ Storm King website, information on history
  23. ^ Reed, Christopher. "Storm King." Harvard Magazine. Harvard Magazine Inc., July 1999. Web.
  24. ^ "Get Involved-Membership." Storm King Art Center. Storm King Art Center, 2011. Web.

External links[edit]