Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Face Time at the Storm King Art Center

by Drew Martin
I visited Storm King Art Center on the Sunday of this past Fourth of July weekend with my wife and youngest son, who just turned eight years old. I have been to this amazing, peaceful place several times before and so I was prepared to write again about what a great location it is to see art; in nature - unbound by the walls of galleries, and too expansive to ever feel crowded. But something peculiar and totally unexpected happened on this trip: I got trapped on a tram (pictured here, top) next to a couple that was making out inches from my face and rubbing up against me, and so my entire experience was adulterated by an excessive amount of PDA. It wasn't sexy or cool. It was awkward for all the families and retired couples on the tour.

My initial reaction was to tell them to get a room, which I didn't. I even envisioned shifting my weight a little on some of the turns so I could watch them tumble off into the nettles. Instead, I decided to document what it is like to look at work by artists such as Mark di Suvero and Alexander Calder with two people sucking on each others' faces, which blocks your view.

We initially walked around the grounds and looked at the temporary exhibit of work by Lynda Benglis but then my son wanted to ride the tram, which loops around the grounds. I would have preferred to walk but it was also fun to have the ride. On one side was my wife and son, and on my other side was an empty seat. Halfway through the ride the tram stopped to let off visitors and pick up the weary. Most groups did not consider the extra seat next to me because they wanted to sit together. But then a young hipster couple ran over to it. The guy threw their two, huge bags of picnic trash on the tram floor and sat down. His girlfriend jumped on his lap and they immediately started making out while leaning up against me. I felt like a loose headboard in an hourly hotel.