Hudson Valley New York

The Hudson Valley follows the Hudson River in New York State from Albany, down to Westchester. It is a beautiful area and has some interesting museum, sculpture parks and, of course, some wineries.

Hudson Valley Art

We recently visited three excellent places to view art in the Hudson Valley.

Art Omi

Art Omi in Ghent New York, is an outdoor sculpture and architecture park. Unfortunately the indoor gallery was between exhibitions during our visit. And the continual drizzle, wet grass and mud limited our outdoor time. Still, we managed to take an abbreviated tour of the 300 acre park to explore some of their approximately 60 contemporary sculptures and 10 architectural models. Among our favorites sculptures were:

Richard Nona’s “Smoke”. Dewitt Godfrey’s “Picker”, Nari Ward’s “Scape Goat”, Donald Baechler’s “Walking Figure” and Donald Lipski’s “Sallie”. We also enjoyed a number of others which, since their names were not shown, we couldn’t specifically identify. Click here for better pictures of some of these and some of the park’s other sculptures.

Ward - ScapegoatSallie walking figureNonas - Smoke, Railroad Ties

Although we did not make the long, muddy trek into most of the architectural park, we did explore Violo Sgo and Hans Tursack’s nearby “Transfers, and courtesy of our telephoto lens, Leven Betts’ Zoid and probably the biggest highlight of the park, Alex Schweder and Ward Shelly’s fun “ReActor”, a glass house propped on a single column that allows the house to rotate in the wind.

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Dia: Beacon

Dia: Beacon is a large, former Nabisco factory that was repurposed to house many large-scale contemporary installations from multiple artists. Most, we found to be totally incomprehensible. Some were quite engaging, even if we did not really understand them. These included Walter di Maria’s Truck Trilogy, with three, pristine, vintage Chevy trucks whose beds each held three stainless steel rods—circular, square and triangular in different orders. Robert Smithson’s sculpture consisted of three different shaped piles of dirt, each with different shaped mirrors and a fourth pile of shards of broken glass. Among those prominent artists who are particularly well represented are:

  • Richard Serra, with his classic large-scale, rusted steel pieces which included one room with three large quasi-circular pieces:
  • Loiuse Bourgious, in a gallery filled with multiple metal and paper mache sculptures, including one of her iconic, large, abstract spiders;

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  • John Chamberlain, with a number of his characteristic crumbled, painted, welded metal abstractions.

Our humor award, meanwhile, would have to go to Robert Judd. While his large-scale work included several wall-sized, black and white projections of pictures of trashed rooms, one piece received disproportionate attention. This was a panel of multi-colored neon tubes that flashed on and off in different combinations that ended in stick-figure images of men—including one hanging in a noose. Each figure was distinguished by a large neon penis.

Other works include those from Robert Judd, Sol LeWitt, Robert Irwin and Dan Flavin.

Storm King

Storm King is considered one of the best sculpture parks in the world. It is a huge, 500-acre facility with more than 100 modern and contemporary sculptures and commissioned installations. Clearly the Gold Standard to which few can even hope to compare.

Although we remember loving Storm King, we didn’t recall just how much we loved it. We don’t even know where to start in describing the park whose vistas, with gentle hills, streams, small stands of forest, ponds and Andy Goldsworthy’s undulating dry stone wall that cuts through the park.

Goldsworthy - Five Men, 17 Days, 15 Boulders, one Wall

The vast majority of pieces are spread throughout the park but it has a small gallery atop a hill that includes a handful of permanently displayed pieces, as from David Smith and Louise Nevelson plus temporary exhibits. When we visited, the temporary exhibits, both within the gallery and spread throughout the park, were part of the exhibition named INDICATORS: Artists on Climate Change, which includes more than a dozen artist’s portrayals of some portion of the issue.

Some of the pieces that we either found particularly striking or that we especially enjoyed are:

  • Siah Armajani’s “Gazebo for Two Anarchists”;

Armajani - Gazebo for Two Anarchists

  • George Rickey’s trio of stainless steel sculptures, especially “Two Planes Vertical Horizontal”, which rotate and reflect differently as they are blown by the wind;

Rickey - Two Planes

  • Ursala Von Rydingsvard’s intriguing “Luba”;

Von Rydingsvard - Luba

  • Chakaia Booker’s parentheses-like “A Moment in Time”

Booker - A Moment in Time

  • A number of Alexander Calder’s pieces, including “Arch” and “Black Flag”;

SONY DSC

  • A number of David Smith’s stainless steel sculptures such as “Study in Arcs”, “portrait of a Lady Painter” and “Three Ovals Soar”;

Smith - Portrait of a lady painter

  • Tal Streeter’s “Endless Column” a red, zig-zagged piece of metal that climbs, step-by-step, into the sky;

Streeter - Endless Column

  • Louise Nevelson’s, “City on the High Mountain”;

Nevelson City on the High Mountain

  • Maya Lin’s “Wavefield” installation in which she reshaped the landscape into a series of small, planted hills that appear like gentle waves.

Maya Lin - Wavefield

Although we greatly enjoyed these and many others, we were awed by a number of Mark Di Suvero’s monumental sculptures that are spread across and effectively dominate the open, South Fields section of the park. Among those we found most impressive were “Neruda’s Gate” and the huge, “Pyramidian”.

Two sculptures particularly enthralled us:

  • Zhang Huan’s “Three Legged Buddah”, which was dominated by its torso and three huge legs, one of which was standing on the Buddha’s head, or at least the top half of the head that was above ground

Huan - Three Legged Buddha 02Huan - Three Legged Buddha 01

  • George Cutt’s enthralling “Sea Change”, which consisted of two delicately curved, stainless steel strands that stood up and continually rotated, seemingly in a delicately choreographed minuet. Most interestingly, it looked totally different, but always graceful, from whichever angle it was viewed.

Cutts Sea Change

It had been a number of years since our last visit to Storm King. We will return more frequently.

Hudson Valley Wineries

We visited two Hudson Velley wineries that the winemaker at Glenora Winery, (one of the largest and, to our tastes, one of the best wineries in New York’s Finger Lakes) recommended. In the past, we haven’t been that impressed by wines from the Hudson Valley. We hoped for a chance to change our hopefully outdated impression:

Millbrook Winery. The winery owner also owns Villa Pillo in Tuscany and Williams Selyem in Russian River. We were unimpressed by the Villa Pillo Sangiovese/Cab Sauv/Merlot blend and by the Millbrook-sourced and labeled wines (including the 2015 Cab Franc Special Reserve, which they claimed to be the winery’s premier wine). Our favorites were a 2017 New York State merlot (sourced from the North Fork of Long Island) and by the 2016 Williams Selyem Russian River pinot, which had much less pronounced fruit than most Russian River pinots.

Brotherhood Winery. Well, we wanted to taste these wine but we we just missed the last tasting of the day. Maybe next time we can try their wide selection of table and premium wines from multiple varietals, still and fortified dessert wines plus a number of wines from a Chilean affiliate.

Hudson Valley Restaurants

Captain’s Table (Monroe New York). Although we weren’t especially impressed by the split pea and ham soup or the watery vegetable broth in which the littleneck clams were steamed, both were acceptable. We also had a very big and very good cheddar cheeseburger with bacon and mushroom. And, although their the onion rings weren’t homemade they were pretty good. The restaurant has a small, low-priced wine selection (from which Joyce had an Italian pinot grigio and a beer list that included a few craft beers, from which Tom chose an acceptable, although not especially complex Bell’s 2 Hearted IPA.

Hudson Valley Hotel

We stayed at the Sleep Inn & Suites in Monroe NY. For a new place, we were surprised at how poor the soundproofing was between the rooms. We could hear everything from the hall and the rooms next to us. This is a known issue to the staff and they are also puzzled as to how bad the sound proofing is. Other than that, the rooms was quite comfortable. As stated, it is fairly new so things are fairly clean, bed is comfortable and linens are decent. But the sound proofing is a big turn off.

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