Returning to Storm King

Peter Schjeldahl at The New Yorker:

Sculpture parks proliferated, worldwide, in the second half of the twentieth century, in the wake of an identity crisis for large three-dimensional art. Modernist austerity had stripped sculpture of its traditional architectural and civic functions: there were no more integrated niches and pedestals, few new formal gardens, and an epochal apathy regarding statues—until lately! (We are now practically neo-Victorian in our awakenings—rude, for the most part—to symbolism in statuary.) Never mind the odd plaza-plunked, vaguely humanist Henry Moore. Where could one put outsized works that were almost invariably abstract—modernism’s universalist ideals persisting—to give them a chance of seeming to mean something? In nature! Conjoining the made with the unmade, gratifying both. Sculpture parks emerged as game preserves and laboratories for big art. Storm King’s early concentration of works by relevant artists of the late nineteen-sixties and seventies includes some formulaic banalities, tending to presume a surefire magic in embowered angular geometry, but even there you may savor the zest of a moment when sculpture jumped into nature’s lap. The history is complicated and obscured, in the art world, by the contemporaneous development, in the sixties, of Minimalism, which, by engaging the physical presence of viewers, shrugs off its surroundings.

more here.