Nestled on 500 acres in the lower Hudson Valley of New York state lies (lay?) the undulating hills of Storm King Mountain, where a majestic open-air museum sits in Mountainville. For fifty years, this unassuming treasure has been celebrated as one of the world’s leading sculpture parks.
Filled with woodlands, wildflowers and lush, native meadow grasses like switchgrass, bluestem, purple top tridens, Canadian wild rye, and sideoats grama grass. The grass, hearkening back to landscapes of the Romantic Hudson River School is such an integral part of Storm King that a “tall grass program” has been implemented for over nineteen years by landscape architects.
Storm King Art Center’s distinguished collection comprises more than 100 sculptures by some of the most acclaimed artists of our era such as Alexander Calder, Claes Oldenburg, Louise Bourgeois, Bruce Nauman, Nam June Paik and more. Works at Storm King encompass the years from post-World War II to the present. It obvious that the curators focused on large-scale abstract sculpture. Towering in the meadows, almost looming behind leaves, stand steel anaglyphs, different from all angles, and giant mechanical simulacra like faux oil rigs across Texas. The collection also includes figurative work and sculpture in stone and earth itself.
A strange sort of time travel occurs when leaving NYC and traveling north. One passes the remnants of colonial America, its first battlegrounds, Fort Montgomery, tollroads on cliff-sides. One arrives at the park and encounters sculptures like extraterrestrials trying to communicate their nature through objects, or like ruins from an ancient civilization whose language we have lost.
Although Storm King was originally envisioned as a museum devoted to Hudson River School, by 1961 its founders had become committed to modern sculpture, and whatever the evolution of that terms mean. Every work is situated with consideration of both its immediate surroundings and distant views, as if the artwork was meant to be one with the land all along.
I find myself continuously drawn to Valentino. Italian designer Valentino Garavani held his first significant show in 1962 at Florence’s Pitti Palace, an appropriate setting for his opulent collection. Gorgeous lace, feminine details, gossamer-like chiffon, and a vibrant shade of red were Valentino’s hallmarks. Today, Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli honor the house’s heritage while adding more modern touches.
This past season, Valentino’s standout hit was the Embroidered Silk Organza Gown in White and Green. The gown showcases expressive and vibrant embroidery that mimics pointillist brushstrokes. Claire Danes wore this number while accepting presenting at the 20th Annual Nobel Peace Prize Concert in Norway. It’s a STEAL at merely $25,000. I kid, I kid.
Something special happens to my friends and I when we discuss couture designers. We intelligent, double diploma-ed, women begin to curse like sailors. As my friend Erica says, “Fuck you Valentino for making my dreams come true!” and my friend Jennell continues, “Honestly, I can’t even talk about Valentino or Chloe without dying of envy for those who can frock about in that shit.” It is just too much beauty for we plebeians to handle.
I have reached the point in the wedding planning process wherein I have begun to think about flowers. What makes a tea rose different from an heirloom rose? What plants are in bloom during the month of my wedding? There are a bevy of questions that, prior to a month ago, I probably would never have though about. Aside from a monthly stop to the bodega for a fresh flower or two, my stance on succulents, peonies, herbs and the like was not so clear. After a very extensive phone-call with my lovely florist, Jenah, from Xylem & Phloem, my passion for petals has been sparked. I love an eclectic, muted bouquet. I adore feeling as if I just stumbled into a Jurassic era fern field. I delight in an English Tea garden. Let’s delve into a floral inspired frenzy.
Eclectic Bouquet for a Blush Pink Outdoor Wedding via Ruffled by Jennifer Frost of Chive Events. Dusty greens of a succulent intermingle with soft pinks, and a spot of mustard yellow and orange.
My florist, Jenah Barry, approaches floral design in a simple, elegant and relaxed manner. Her first word was ‘flower’. As an artist, with an MFA, flowers have always been important in her life. She sources the freshest plants from local purveyors and small-scale gardens. Her creations are so abundant with detail, they are reminiscent of Renaissance still lifes. On such a canvas, blossoms could be considered symbols of the seasons, trade, religion, and of the five senses.