New York Art Gallery Guide Storm King Dia:Beacon Opus 40 Edward Hopper House

Grandlife guide

Escape the Everyday with these Fall Art Trips

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Whether you’re after an outdoor sculpture garden or a boutique gallery surrounded by upstate charm, there’s an art escape to suit.

New York may be one of the world’s great art capitals but if you’re not leaving Manhattan, you’re missing out. Whether you’re after an outdoor sculpture garden that puts you among the fall foliage or a boutique gallery surrounded by upstate charm, there’s an art escape to suit.

DIA: Beacon

A fall trip to Beacon is a New York rite of passage for a reason. Just an hour and a half from Grand Central via train, DIA: Beacon houses a permanent collection that includes work by Dan Flavin, Andy Warhol, Louise Bourgeois, and Richard Serra inside a former box printing factory on the banks of the Hudson River. It’s one of the country’s largest exhibition spaces for modern and contemporary work, located a stone’s throw from Main Street’s restaurants, breweries and bakeries. On the weekend, check out vintage and handmade wares at Beacon Flea (Sundays from April through November); grab a beer at Hudson Valley Brewery, 2 Way Brewing Company or Blessed Brews; and pick up a seasonal donut from Glazed Over.

DIA: Beacon, 3 Beekman St, Beacon, NY

Storm King Art Center

Another quintessential upstate trip, Storm King’s 500 acres of large-scale outdoor sculptures explores the connection between art and nature in the hills of the Hudson Valley. Site-specific commissions set among farmed fields, natural woodlands, lawns, native grasses, and wetlands create the ideal space to experience the changing seasons and make it an especially picturesque option during fall. It’s located in the town of Cornwall, about a 30-minute drive from Beacon train station, and the gallery operates a shuttle service from the station (pre-purchased tickets required). 

1 Museum Road, New Windsor, NY 

Opus 40 Sculpture Park and Museum

This large-scale, environmental sculpture in Saugerties is a sprawling network of dry-stone ramps and walls created by one man, sculptor and quarryman Harvey Fite. Fite worked on the installation for 37 years until his death in 1976 and it opened to the public the following year. Now on the National Register of Historic Places, its natural surroundings offer prime leaf peeping while the town of Saugerties remains relatively quiet compared to other towns along the Hudson. It’s a 2-hour drive from New York and is located 16 miles from the nearest Amtrak station in Rhinecliff.

50 Fite Rd, Saugerties NY 

Edward Hopper House Museum and Study Center

Edward Hopper may have been famous for his melancholic depictions of big city life but one of the most significant American artists of the 20th century was a small-town boy from Nyack; Hopper was born and grew up in this modest suburban home built by his grandfather. One gallery is dedicated to Hopper memorabilia and art, while other rooms display temporary exhibitions inspired by the artist’s work. Only 19 miles north of the Manhattan border — 45 minutes by car and under 1.5 hours by train – it’s an easy day trip. Don’t forget to stop by local institution Pickwick, a vintage and rare book store with tomes piled from floor to ceiling. Take a stroll along the river at Nyack Beach State Park.

81 North Broadway, Nyack NY

Dan Flavin Art Institute

Before it became a summer playground for affluent New Yorkers, the Hamptons were home to a vibrant, year-round creative community. Dan Flavin was among the artists who spent time in the area and a former firehouse in Bridgehampton houses a permanent installation of his minimalist fluorescent light works, with the first-floor reserved for temporary exhibitions. The artist conceived of the building and art as a single, unified work. Bridgehampton is easily reached on public transport (2.5-3 hours from Penn Station via the Long Island Rail Road) and visiting during shoulder season means you’ll have the quaint, shingled shopfronts of Main Street to yourself. 

23 Corwith Ave, Bridgehampton, NY 

Parrish Art Museum

Exhibiting more than 3,000 works, from early nineteenth-century landscape paintings through to American Impressionism and the twenty-first century, Parrish Art Museum is the place to get acquainted with Long Island artists past and present. It has the largest collection of works by William Merritt Chase, including family photographs of the artist’s summers spent on the East End.

279 Montauk Highway, Water Mill, NY

MASS MoCA

It’s further afield (3.5 hours by car) but the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams has played a significant role in revitalizing the Berkshires. It’s a vast, multi-building complex of galleries spanning all forms of contemporary art, as well as an incubator of new talent. 

1040 MASS MoCA Way, North Adams, MA

WORDS Anne Fullerton

IMAGERY Zhang Huan, Three Legged Buddha, 2007. Gift of Zhang Huan and Pace Gallery. ©Zhang Huan Studio, courtesy Pace Gallery. Photo by Jerry L. Thompson

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