South fields at Storm King Art Center

South fields at Storm King Art Center

On one of my days in New York, I arranged to take an all-day bus tour to Storm King Art Center, a sculpture and land art mecca about an hour north of NYC in the Hudson Valley.  I learned about Storm King when I was researching where I could see Andy Goldsworthy’s art.  He built two walls at Storm King, which I will write about in tomorrow’s post.

As I waited for my bus to depart from the Port Authority Bus Terminal, I saw a non-stop stream of people line up and fill buses destined for an outlet mall.  The Storm King stop was a few miles beyond the outlet mall, and just three or four buses from the dozens departing would make a special stop there each day.  The bus company rep told me that after the regular passengers got on my bus, the remaining seats would be filled with shoppers.  I wondered if I was going to be the only person getting off at Storm King, because shoppers certainly trumped art aficionados from what I could see.

When the bus stopped at Storm King, I was relieved to see that five other intrepid souls got off at the remote stop.  As we headed toward the gate, the security guard emerged from the shack waving his arms and shouting, “We’re closed, we’re closed!”  Meanwhile, the bus had turned around and was departing up the road.  Now what?  A sign posted by the gate stated that the art center was open on this day of the week, as did the website.  Each of us had bought admission tickets as part of our bus tour package.  Clearly there was a mix up.  The guard called to the administration building to see what could be done.

An administrator, S, drove down to the gate to figure out some arrangements for us.  She said that we would be allowed to enter the grounds and could wander around to see the sculptures.  The good news was that we would have the place to ourselves.  (Pretty neat.)  The bad news was that the cafe and gift shop and plumbed bathrooms were closed. (There were port-a-potties).  S asked if any of us had brought food or water, and then she volunteered to provide us lunches.  We arranged to meet back at a picnic area in an hour.  She gave us her phone number in case of an emergency, and we all dispersed to encounter art in a bucolic, expansive landscape.

Our trip was salvaged, and we had four hours before the bus would arrive to take us back to the city.  Amazingly, this was not enough time to see everything.  The grounds were vast.  The art was extraordinary.  The beautiful landscape itself was as worthy as the sculptures.  It was an immensely satisfying experience.  These photos give you a sense of what Storm King has to offer:

Alexander Calder, Five Swords, 1976

Alexander Calder, Five Swords, 1976

Tal Streeter, Endless Column, 1968

Tal Streeter, Endless Column, 1968

Endless Column with Alexander Calder's Arch, 1875

Endless Column with Alexander Calder’s Arch, 1975


Menashe Kadishman, Suspended, 1977

Menashe Kadishman, Suspended, 1977


Zhang Huan, Three Legged Buddha, 2007

Zhang Huan, Three Legged Buddha, 2007

Grace Knowlton, Spheres, 1973/1985

Grace Knowlton, Spheres, 1973/1985


Queen Anne's lace

Queen Anne’s lace


Forrest Myers, Four Corners

Maya Lin, Storm King Wavefields, 2007-08

Maya Lin, Storm King Wavefields, 2007-08

Alexander Calder, The Arch, 1975 (manipulated photo)

Alexander Calder, The Arch, 1975 (manipulated photo)

Meadow grasses with Calder's Arch

Meadow grasses with Calder’s Arch

Paper sculpture at Anthropologie’s downtown Seattle store

I wasn’t shopping, but as I walked by the Anthropologie store in downtown Seattle, I was drawn in by the amazing paper sculptures decorating its sales floor.  I wondered whether it was another installation by artist Celeste Cooning (see more about her at this post), but it was not.  This feat of decorating with paper was executed by one of the store’s employees.  I thought it was incredibly creative.

A chandelier of paper feathers

Wall coverings of paper

Looking down onto the Anthropologie sales floor

Ideas for decorating with paper

Chihuly Garden and Glass, Seattle Center

The Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibition will open in Seattle on May 21st, 2012.  Workers are busy putting the finishing touches on this new museum and garden celebrating the works of glass artist Dale Chihuly.  Walking by the construction site reveals a rewarding sneak peek at some of the glass art.  It’s going to be amazing.

(I wonder how the outdoor glass pieces will be protected from hail, heavy snow, and wind storms!)

Glass sculpture with Pacific Science Center arches

This sculpture is in the garden

Chihuly Garden and Glass

Peek through the glass windows to see iconic Chihuly sea form sculptures


Two sculptures

Glass sculpture, reminds me of the needles on an evergreen tree

Sneaking a peek through the glass windows of the exhibit hall

Glass sculpture looks like rock candy

Workers taking a break

Finishing touches

A peek into the cafe — vibrant Chihuly art on the walls and accordions hanging from ceiling

Sculpture reflected in the windows of the Space Needle

First Thursday Art Walk at the Foster/White Gallery in Pioneer Square

I had an opportunity to check out the First Thursday Art Walk in Pioneer Square this week.  It was a beautiful, late summer evening, perfect for wandering in and out of the many galleries in the Pioneer Square district of downtown Seattle.  It was almost as much fun people watching as it was looking at the art!

View down an alley in Pioneer Square

This building with its black fire escape and red window caught my eye.

Photographic installation in Occidental Square: "Shoreline" by Perri Lynch

Another outdoor installation: "Flock of Seagulls" by L Sq

Nord Alley featured the art of John Fleming and Wyn Bielaska, and a plein air artist at work.

Hanging sculptural mobiles by Paul Vexler at the Foster/White Gallery. This one is called "blue 360."

Paul Vexler's "Hoops and Loops" exhibit, Foster/White Gallery

Paul Vexler's "Small Hoop" and shadows, Foster/White Gallery

More Alley Art

July 11, 2011

Art in the Alley by Joe Iano

Alley Art

There was another Alley Art event ( in Pioneer Square this past First Thursday.  This time the exhibit featured the art of Joe Iano.  Programs like this are a fun way to revitalize an urban neighborhood.  Here are some photos of the evening:

Art installed in an alley

Alley art by Joe Iano

Alley Art

Real puddle in alley!

Alley Art

Balconey grill in alley

Alley fixtures

Brickwork embellishments in the alley

Pioneer Square is a hopping place on First Thursdays.  Artists sell their wares from tented booths.  There are plenty of tables and chairs for eating and visiting.

Wire sculptures for sale

Pioneer Square is a great place for people watching.

Skirted wonder

Hats were out for the Dancing Hats event

My favorite hat

Body painting in the window of the Last Supper Club

Body as art

“Cities have always offered anonymity, variety, and conjunction, qualities best basked in by walking:  one does not have to go into the bakery or the fortune-teller’s, only to know that one might.  A city always contains more than any inhabitant can know, and a great city always makes the unknown and the possible spurs to the imagination.”
— Rebecca Solnit, A History of Walking

Today I attended a workshop at the Seattle Public Library downtown, and I decided I would walk from my house.  It’s only 5-1/2 miles, but I had never before walked downtown to work.  I chose a direct route down Eastlake Avenue, which parallels the east shore of Lake Union.  The street does not run right along the water, but I got brief views at each intersection, where I could see down to the lake.  It was a clear, sunny day, but I walked on the shady side of the street and did not get too hot.

Here are some of the things I saw along the way:

Crossing I-5 on 45th Street NE. Heavy traffic going into downtown.

On clear days, Mount Rainier dominates the horizon.

Statue of Sadako and the thousand origami cranes near the University Bridge

After crossing the University Bridge, I could smell fresh bread from this bakery.

Rolled croissants, ready to rise

Fresh baguettes, Le Fournil Bakery

I kept passing these sidewalk plaques on Eastlake Ave E. They showed various microorganisms native to Lake Union. I learned later that they are the creation of artist Stacy Levy.

"The Vessel" by Ed Carpenter, a sculpture at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, South Lake Union

Reflections on the sidewalk from The Vessel sculpture

One of the figures from Akio Takamon's "Three Women" sculpture outside Whole Foods Market, South Lake Union

I arrived downtown after walking two hours.  I had an hour before my workshop started, so I decided to check out the Chihuly glass installations in public locations in downtown Seattle.

Persian glass installation by Dale Chihuly, on the mezzanine of the City Centre building on 5th Avenue

Detail from glass installation at City Centre

An installation of Flower Forms in the lobby of the Sheraton Hotel

Detail of Chihuly's Flower Forms, Sheraton Hotel

One of two glass chandeliers by Dale Chihuly in Benaroya Hall

"Crystal Cascade" chandelier by Dale Chihuly

Detail of glass chandelier at Benaroya Hall

All too soon, it was time to report to work at the library.

Seattle Public Library, Central Branch downtown Seattle, designed by Rem Koolhaas

Interior, Seattle Public Library

Escalator, Seattle Public Library

Another escalator, Seattle Public Library

Roadside Attractions

June 8, 2010

Wild Ponies sculpture near Vantage, Washington

One of my favorite roadside attractions is a sculpture installation on the bluffs overlooking the Columbia River near Vantage, Washington.  It’s called “Grandfather Cuts Loose the Ponies” by David Govedare.  It’s about 2 hours from Seattle along I-90 east, so it’s a perfect spot to stretch your legs on the long drive across the state to Spokane.

To reach the sculptures, take exit 139 off I-90 eastbound and park in a lot at the base of the bluff.  It’s a short, but steep, hike up to the horses.  The views of the mighty Columbia River are spectacular from up there.

Short, but steep, trails lead to the top of the bluff.

Grandfather cuts Loose the Ponies sculpture

No rattlesnakes on this cool weekend!

Outdoor Sculptures

August 7, 2009

Todd Lawson sculpture:  Ladder to heaven reflected in mirror

Todd Lawson sculpture: Ladder to heaven reflected in mirror

Gerry Stecca and Aaron Haba sculptures

Gerry Stecca and Aaron Haba sculptures

Gerry Stecca's clothespin-wrapped tree

Gerry Stecca's clothespin-wrapped tree

Heaven and Earth Exhibit at Carkeek Park

Heaven and Earth Exhibit at Carkeek Park

Aaron Haba's sculpture with rope folds

Aaron Haba's sculpture with rope folds

Stephen Rock's "Executive Decision"

Stephen Rock's "Executive Decision"

My friend Carol and I recently viewed the sculptures of the Heaven and Earth Exhibit at Carkeek Park in Seattle.  The sculptures have been installed on the park grounds, and at times it felt like we were on a scavenger hunt as we traversed the park’s trails and tried to decipher the map showing where we would find the sculptures. 

Our favorite piece was Gerry Stecca’s tree snag wrapped in clothespins.  It looked like a knight of a tree wearing a coat of chain mail. . . a tree protected by another layer of clothespin bark.

We had varying responses to the other sculptures — from, “Nah, doesn’t do anything for me,” to “Wow, that’s weird.”   Can I predict how I’ll respond to a piece of art?  Not really, but with this exhibit, I was drawn more to the art constructed of natural materials.