Bernar Venet, “Arcs in Disorder: 4 Arcs x 5, and 83.5 Degree Diagonal Line”
An art museum and hiking? Great idea! You can enjoy both at Art Omi, an 120-acre sculpture and arts park in upstate New York.
Dan Colen, “Yellow M&M, Brown M&M, Red M&M, Orange M&M“
The scuptures frequently change, so what I enjoyed in September might not be there when this article is published, nor likely to be there when you get a chance to visit. That’s okay. I’m already planning another trip to explore the daytrip destinations to the region, and it’s almost guaranteed that we’ll make another visit to the sculpture park.
Olaf Breuning’s “Clouds.” These comical clouds are cut from polished aluminum and powder-coated in hues of bright blue.
In fact, I particularly enjoy art outside. Tell me there’s a scupture garden and I’m planning a daytrip to it — it’s a great way to make art more accessible to folks and kids, particularly folks like me, who enjoy art but don’t know a whole lot about it. (Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy art museums also, but there’s something about being outside.) Even though the day was cold and rainy, I really enjoyed the beautiful countryside while looking around the various sculpture.
The first thing we saw, even before we left our vehicle, was Nari Ward’s “Scape Goat,” which not so gently mocks the hubris that often accompanies masculinity with the gigantic goats head toy; the title invokes the shaming and blaming of others, suggesting an examination of our communal values of inclusion or exclusion. Which, until I read about the sculpture, I was like, “cool. a big toy. is it demonic?”
One of my favorite sculptures was Bianca Beck’s “untitled,” a colorful, oversized humanoid enveloped by the woods, and seemingly reaching up to the color in the trees. Beck’s work usually begins with the body, “from the imagined internal spaces of veins and organs to the dynamics of identity and expression.” This is Beck’s first large scale outdoor work, in which she “considered the expansion of the individual in relation to collectivity, creativity, and partnership.” I’m not art educated so I’m not sure I understand all that; all I know is, I liked it. Sometimes that’s enough.
To get to Beck’s work, and most of the others, you’re going to be walking across meadows, often muddy trails in the woods, crossing footbridges, and going up and down hills. There are no paved walking paths.
Diversity is a guiding principle at Art Omi, welcoming a mix of artists from all over the world with a place to express their passions and talents.
Another favorite was the steam-punkish metal sculpture, “Blast Furnace,” by Atelier Van Lieshout, standing an impressive 40-feet. It’s a maze, and you almost want to ignore the admonitions not to go onto it, to expore its pipes, conveyor elevators, staircases, and mezzanines that, although very industrial looking, also surprises you with some more domestic items, such as a toilet.
Witt Godfrey banded steel sculpture, “Picker”
Know before you go: Ticks, poison ivy, mud, and other natural hazards may be present. Be prepared with sturdy footwear and appropriate attire. Dogs are welcome, but must be leashed. Food and beverages are permitted in the park, so if the weather is nice, plan a picnic!
Getting there: 1405 Co Rte 22, Ghent, NY 12075
Hours: Open daily, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
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