The Hudson Valley New York follows the Hudson River from Albany, down to Westchester. It is a beautiful area and has some interesting museums, sculpture parks and, of course, some wineries.
Hudson Valley Art
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 favorite 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.
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.
Dia: Beacon is a large, former Nabisco factory that was repurposed to house many large-scale contemporary installations from multiple artists. We found most 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:
- Louise Bourgious, in a gallery filled with multiple metal and paper mache sculptures, including one of her iconic, large, abstract spiders;
- 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 included those from Robert Judd, Sol LeWitt, Robert Irwin, and Dan Flavin.
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.
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 artists’ 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”;
- 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;
- Ursala Von Rydingsvard’s intriguing “Luba”;
- Chakaia Booker’s parentheses-like “A Moment in Time”
- A number of Alexander Calder’s pieces, including “Arch” and “Black Flag”;
- A number of David Smith’s stainless steel sculptures such as “Study in Arcs”, “portrait of a Lady Painter” and “Three Ovals Soar”;
- Tal Streeter’s “Endless Column” a red, zig-zagged piece of metal that climbs, step-by-step, into the sky;
- Louise Nevelson’s, “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.
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, “Pyramidion”.
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
- 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.
It had been a number of years since our last visit to Storm King. We will return more frequently.
Hudson Valley Wineries
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 by visiting some wineries in the area.
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/Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot blend and by the Millbrook-sourced and labeled wines (including the 2015 Cabernet 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 Noir, which had much less pronounced fruit than most Russian River pinots.
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 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 Hotels
Opus Westchester (White Plains). is a nice boutique hotel. We were upgraded to a king executive suite which had a huge corner room, a sitting room, great bedding, and a very nice bathroom. A wonderful place to stay if you are in the area.
The Sleep Inn & Suites (Monroe NY) was clean and comfortable. But the soundproofing was a big turn off and we will not return. 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 soundproofing is for a fairly new building.