Richard Serra, Schunnemunk Fork, 1990–91, weathering steel, dimensions variable. Storm King Art Center.

Storm King Reopens as Indoor New York Museums Stay Closed in Phase 4

As New York City heads into Phase 4 on Monday, joining the rest of the state in entering the final stage of its reopening plan, Governor Andrew Cuomo made it clear that the city’s art museums will stay closed due to a potential second wave of Covid-19 cases resulting from spikes around the country. “We’re not going to have any indoor activity in malls or cultural institutions,” Cuomo said on a recent conference call. “We’ll continue to monitor that situation, and when the facts change, we will let you know.”

The decision has forced a change of plans for institutions like the Museum of the City of New York, which was preparing to reopen with new social distancing precautions next Thursday. Regarding the Metropolitan Museum of Art—which recently announced its intention to begin reentry on August 29 and cap its attendance at 25 percent of visiting capacity—the governor said, “We’ll see.” The Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art have yet to publicize any reopening plans.

Although most of the region initiated Phase 4 in late June, the majority of art institutions statewide are keeping their doors shut, using the time to restructure their exhibition-viewing experiences to maximize sanitary practices. One museum has reopened, however: Storm King Art Center, the massive open-air sculpture park located in the rolling hills of the Hudson Valley. The park, which celebrates its sixtieth anniversary this year and began welcoming visitors on Wednesday, features new works by Kiki Smith, Mark di Suvero, and Martha Tuttle alongside mainstays by Richard Serra, Ursula von Rydingsvard, and Louise Nevelson. Visitors must book time slots in advance and will need to travel by car, as the usual shuttle service from Beacon has been suspended. Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City, Queens, has remained open throughout the pandemic and recently unveiled a new work by artist Jeffrey Gibson as part of its summerlong “MONUMENTS NOW” series.