A favorite socially-distanced activity for many people during the COVID-19 health crisis has been to simply go for a walk. When stuck inside all day, fresh air can revitalize the soul and refresh our moods. In Peekskill, those who are out for a stroll can take in dozens of public artworks along their way. The Hudson Valley Museum of Contemporary Art has outlined these pieces in a public sculpture walk featured on its website. The tour’s map pinpoints each sculpture and introduces viewers to the works of art with a description. The two-mile loop is walkable from the town’s Metro-North train station and leads participants along the Peekskill waterfront and downtown area. See the following pages for some highlights and visit hudsonvalleymoca.org for the full sculpture walk.
Carol Feuerman – The Golden Mean
This bronze sculpture of a male dancer creates a silhouette at varied times of the day, a majestic tribute to the beauty of the athlete and a bow to the Greek classical works of the past. Perfectly balanced and stalwart, it stands on Peekskill Riverfront Green as a beacon to human ambition and artistic accomplishment. Visible to travelers on Metro North, the sculpture has quickly become an icon of the waterfront. Though installed as part of Peekskill Project V, an art festival whose installations are often temporary, the work was made affordable for purchase by the city through the efforts of HVMOCA and the generosity of the artist.
Basha Ruth Nelson – Beyond
Beyond is both an artwork and a frame-for-art. It captures the beautiful scenery of the Hudson River and offers a way to look through it out into the world. Says the artist: “My work…is the creation of unity between form and the volume in which my pieces live. My sculptures…engage the viewer through surface and scale.”
Mark Andreas – Peekskill Dragonfly
Mark Andreas built Peekskill Dragonfly to react to the natural forces in the environment that surrounds it. Every several weeks between spring and fall, the artist fills a basin in the sculpture with water. When the water is added, the sculpture becomes a dynamic cantilever as the sculpture’s wings rise. The sculpture is attuned to the environment and is impacted even by the slightest breeze, reminiscent of sailing ships that operate on the Hudson. Over a period of time, the water is pumped out through the force of “capillary action.” As the water is released by this force of nature, the wings start to fold down. After the wings are completely folded, the cycle will repeat once the basin is refilled with water. During the winter months, the water is drained and the sculpture stays dormant to protect itself from the freezing temperatures.
Emil Alzamora – Tides
Tides is a composition of three bronze figures resembling a family – a mother, father and child – who will forever gaze off toward the mighty Hudson River. According to Alzamora: “Tides represents the spirit of eternal relaxation and enjoyment of two things that are dear to us – family and loved ones, and communion with the world we live in. Their softened details bring to mind subtle aquatic forms that one might find in the Hudson River on a calm day.”
Job Koelewijn – Billboard
Here, the beauty of the Hudson Valley is framed as one would frame a landscape painting. This highlights what gave birth to the Hudson River School – an appreciation for the awe-inspiring Hudson River and its mountain ranges. The work was conceived as a billboard, framing the Bear Mountain to the north and Peekskill Palisade to the south. Water, pumped from the Hudson River into the base of the sculpture, rises and rains down from the upper bar of the structure, creating a veil of water.
Jong Oh – Launching Ball
Korean artist Jong Oh usually creates minimal sculptures that respond to the given spatial situation. In a sharp departure from these very minimal works, Oh has created this whimsical work that reflects on life along the Hudson River, where noisy recreation and quiet reflection are part of the attraction. The steel base, poised as if ready to fling the striped beach ball into the waves, invites the viewer to imagine the possibilities of this exquisite landscape.
A version of this article first appeared in the June issue of ArtsNews, ArtsWestchester’s monthly publication. ArtsNews is distributed throughout Westchester County. A digital copy is also available at artsw.org/artsnews.