The work of Richard Serra at Dia:

Education Vacation: Art Galleries and Museums in Upstate New York

May 15, 2009
by Sarah Amandolare
New York’s attractions extend far beyond the Big Apple’s bright Broadway lights. If you’re planning a summer vacation to Manhattan, consider traveling north to the quiet, charming towns of “upstate.” And don’t miss the region’s venerable art galleries and museums while you’re there.


Beacon is easy to reach from New York City; it’s less than two hours away on Metro North Railroad and situated on the beautiful Hudson River. Beacon still has a small-town feel, but has a burgeoning arts scene that features several galleries, including the main draw, Dia:Beacon, Riggio Galleries. Known as Dia, the museum is housed in what was once a box-printing factory for Nabisco, and features temporary exhibitions and programs open to the public, such as gallery talks and dance performances. In addition, Dia holds the collection of Dia Art Foundation works from the 1960s to the present.
Through Sept. 7, 2010, Dia presents an exhibition of work by Zoe Leonard. “You see I am here after all, 2008” includes approximately 4,000 vintage postcards depicting Niagara Falls from the 1900s to the 1950s. The postcards are “emblematic of mass culture’s transformation of natural sites into tourist destinations,” according to Dia’s Web site.

Storm King Art Center

Art in the outdoors in the summertime: What could be better? At Storm King Art Center, located less than 30 miles from the Metro North train station at Poughkeepsie, experience a refreshing mix of “sculpture and nature.” The museum is situated on 500 velvety green acres of “landscaped lawns, fields and woodlands” that provide a home for modern European and American sculptures that appear differently depending on the natural light and the weather of the moment. In other words, “no two visits are the same,” according to the Storm King Art Center Web site.
Of note is a new permanent display created by artist Maya Lin called “Storm King Wavefield,” an astonishing feat that has transformed 11 acres of a former gravel pit, according to The New York Times, into an ocean of grass. Wave-like structures undulate gently across the land before a backdrop of Hudson Valley mountains, with some waves rising as high as 15 feet in the air. The New York Times’ photo gallery and video presentation offer further insight into the exhibit.

OffManhattan writer Amy Cao describes a recent visit to Storm King Art Center, where you’ll be free to “roam the grounds” and get up close and personal with the mammoth sculptures and smaller works; Cao recommends Tomio Miki’s “Ear.” Daily docent-led tours are at 2 p.m., or visitors can opt for a self-guided audio tour (get supplies at the Visitor Center). Although you won’t be able to purchase food on the grounds (until May 23 when Woody’s at Storm King begins selling light snacks, lunch and beverages on weekends), picnics are encouraged. Bring a cooler, Cao advises, and “dine by the fifty-six-foot high curves of Alexander Calder’s The Arch.”

Most Recent Features