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Rendering of Fallen Sky. Image: Sarah Sze.
Rendering of Fallen Sky. Image: Sarah Sze.

Storm King Commissions Sarah Sze to Make First New Work to Enter Collection in 13 Years

Storm King Art Center in New York’s Hudson Valley is commissioning Sarah Sze to create a new site-specific sculpture to be installed on its grounds in 2021—the first new work to enter Storm King’s permanent collection since Maya Lin’s 2008 Storm King Wave Field. Sze’s Fallen Sky will occupy what the institution describes as a “deliberately incomplete and increasingly delicate 36-foot-diameter spherical cavity, sheathed in mirrored stainless steel.” 

The work explores themes running throughout Storm King’s collection, including the use of scale to engage with the landscape as well as the dialogue between nature and art, while addressing concerns of the recent decade, as evoked by its responsiveness to minute environmental changes. “Pressing into the earth, the concave sculpture reflects the concave sky, creating a sense of the landscape in reverse,” explained Sze in a statement. “As visitors peer into the reflection, they are immersed in the sky from above and below, teetering between a sense that the sculpture has dropped from above and a sense that it is emerging from the earth. Framed by the landscape, the work erases the land and gives form to the air, allowing an intimate view of what is normally vast and immeasurable.”

Storm King, though forced to operate at 30 percent capacity this past season owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, nevertheless enjoyed “robust attendance,” according to senior curator Nora Lawrence, with most weekends selling out. The five hundred–acre outdoor museum, which celebrated its sixtieth anniversary this year, will reopen to the public on May 22, 2021, with an eponymous show of Sze’s work, held indoors and designed to lead visitors to the culminating point of the artist’s outdoor sculpture.

Also on view at that time will be a monumental 2019 work by Rashid Johnson. Titled The Crisis, the sixteen-foot-tall pyramidal steel sculpture, inspired by Harold Cruse’s 1967 text The Crisis of the Negro Intellectual and characterized by Lawrence as “how an environment is very much alive and growing despite how we, as people, try to put our mark on it,” will be temporarily installed in the sculpture park’s native grass fields. In this context, the sculpture will evoke “how nature continues to thrive even as humans and society fails to progress,” Lawrence notes.

Storm King’s 2022 programming will include work by Wangechi Mutu, whose bronze works were recently on display at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, and work by Romily Alice Walden, whose neon sculptures address queer identity.