Storm King Art Center in New York’s Orange County is a sculpture park, and there are two exhibitions opening Saturday. One marks the first large-scale exhibit in the U.S. for a certain artist. The other is a piece that has a lot to say about the environment.
“As I Went Out One Morning” is the first major exhibit of Thomas Houseago’s works in the United States. The title is from a Bob Dylan song. Houseago has said the title came to him shortly after spending three days at Storm King Art Center in January, in the snow, laying out the exhibition. Nora Lawrence is associate curator at Storm King, and worked closely with Houseago for the six-month show.
Everything from enormous striding figures to a sleeping boy to coins and masks. There are also two sculptures that speak to the artist’s fascination with the wild animals of his Los Angeles residence. Nora Lawrence walks the group over to the 2011 aluminum Rattlesnake
Houseago was born and raised in Leeds, England. He became a U.S. citizen in 2012, having relocated to L.A. in 2003. As Lawrence speaks more about the artist’s background, the group meanders to an owl.
Lawrence said he loved having his works sit within view of the works of Alexander Calder, an artist he greatly admires. While a number of Houseago’s works are on a lawn outside the museum building, there are several indoor pieces, many of which are on exhibit for the first time – drawings and felt pieces, to name a few. As Storm King President John Stern explains, Houseago’s works occupy rooms both downstairs and up.
And, as Lawrence explains, the studio chairs on the patio are one of Houseago’s experiments.
There is another exhibit opening May 4 entitled “A Proverbial Machine in the Garden,” by David Brooks. The piece is a 1970s-model Dynahoe tractor, purchased, as the curators describe, from a tractor graveyard in Port Jervis in Orange County. The work is titled after Leo Marx’s 1964 text “The Machine in the Garden: Technology and the Pastoral Ideal in America.”
The tractor is buried under steel grates, intended to be tread upon, and symbolizes both farming and the machinery that helped build Storm King’s natural environment, so to speak, but might portend a post-industrial world in which machinery that created the current landscape becomes obsolete.
If you decide to venture out one morning, or afternoon, to the 500-acre landscape that is Storm King Art Center, you may traverse the grounds on foot, bike, or via the solar electric tram debuting this year. You may also venture to www.stormking.org for more information.