Disclaimer: You probably wont get an accurate or full description of either the Storm King or Dia: Beacon so you are just going to have to go see it for your self.... (for those of you that know me you are more than welcome to stay at my house if you plan a trip) Also the images included in this posting have been copy protected to protect the artist who made the work. Do not re-post any of these images unless you are linking back to the Dia: Beacon or Storm king websites. This posting is for educational purposes only. Thank you.
So Liz's parents came this weekend. We had a busy Saturday. First we got up really early and went to the Storm King art center. Really nice. Since we moved in right before school started we have not really had the time to venture out too far, besides for some basic necessities. Finding out that this amazing destination is within one hour of us is just crazy. Then after Storm King we went to Dia: Beacon. Another MIND BLOWING experience. Both places were featuring Sol LeWitt. Storm King had sculpture and Dia: Beacon had Wall Drawings.
When we first arrived at Storm King we were greeted by an incredible Calder piece (The Arch). This was when I knew this experience was going to change something inside me. The big buzz was about the Sol LeWitt show so we went to the gallery to visit that first. Upon entering there were four sets of white sculptures that I gravitated toward first. These studies in form were memorizing. Thoughts of fundamental design projects raced through my head. I got lost in cubes, lines and curves. I couldn't help imagining all the process of attaching endless lengths of wood together in countless different configurations to form a mountain of art. There was a video upstairs that kind of spoiled what was to come later in the day but I will get to that in a minute.
Next we got a quick view of the grounds around of the gallery and then we boarded the tram to tour the 500 acres of art. The tram stopped only once for Andy Goldsworthy's Storm King Wall.
From the tram you could see the wall snaking down the side of the hill and into a lake. When the tram finally stopped and we got out we got a chance to walk right up to the wall and touch it. It was interesting to actually experience it in such an intimate way. I had seen photos and video of it and kind of envisioned the piece as a whole. For me it functioned very differently then I imagined. Standing close to the wall you can't ever see the whole thing so you only get about 10 or 15 feet of it at a time. I found myself probing the wall for cracks, crevices, moss, bugs and shapes. I spent time speculating the way they built it. It was such a great thing to see this piece. I have two versions of it in my head now. The whole and the up close and personal. Its so exciting when artwork functions on multiple levels like this. After the tram arrived back at the building we got into the car and heading for Dia: Beacon.
I have to admit I only knew what this was from people at New Paltz saying "you gotta go to Dia: Beacon" or "Man, have you been to Dia: Beacon yet?" I had see pamphlets for this place but none of this prepared me for the monumental experience that is DIA: BEACON! So we first stopped to get a cup of coffee which is outside of the gallery (illy I might add, the same thing I drink at home!). The first thing I noticed were the patio stones. They made a nice pattern on the grounds outside. Holes were filled in the stone to create the path and others were left open for grass to grow out of. The book store was amazing, filled with artist books under glass and a reading area were you were invited to read any of the new books or magazines.
When we first entered the place i was thinking it was going to be small. The corridor entering the place was small and dark. It just added to the experience when the space opened up dramatically with skylights and HUGE exhibitions spaces. So here is the thing: make sure you have time to see everything. I tried to do it in an hour and half and it was a HUGE mistake. I had to take a nap after we got back because my brain and body was exhausted.
I will give you the highlights. First SOL LEWITT!! early wall drawings.... I had no idea. They were incredible! At first I didn't know what I was looking at. Then when I got up close my brain exploded. There were walls covered in what looked like faint wall paper. Upon closer inspections I realized they were all hand drawings! Some were just black and white others were layers of colors. Red on blue, blue on black, yellow on gray etc etc. My eyes were on fire. I have a hard time with those stereographic prints (a la: Mallrats "Oh its a sailboat"). I felt like my brain just got it. It didn't have to work so hard. Next to the drawings there was usually a formula that was used where the wall was gridded and each square had a calculation that determined what patter that was to go in it. Then all drawn by hand... I think... again my brain working the way it does, I immediately looked to the floor for pencil shavings.
There were plenty of other things at Dia: Beacon that I got into (Richard Serra,
Joseph Beuys, Michael Heizer, Dan Dlavin and On Kawara)
but the Sol LeWitt drawings really threw me for a loop. I hope that the photos that follow only give you a taste of my experience and will convince you to come see it all for yourself.